Monday, May 28, 2007

PRO PATRIA MORI


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.


Memorial Day likely had had many separate beginnings; in small towns every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, and each contributed honorably to the growing movement.




Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.










ARLINGTON

The bloodied sun sinks in the west
And lights us all with glory;
Here sleep the brave in honored rest;
The bugler tells our story;
O dulce et decorum est pro patria mori;
O dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
Go tell the people, passer-by,
Read the stone before ye,
Tis sweet and fitting that we die
For our country’s glory;
Obedient to your will we lie
Pro patria mori;
O dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
From under stone we’ve often seen
These lures to empty glory;
We know what deaths these words can mean,
Lonely, cold and gory;
We find these Latin words obscene,
Pro patria mori,
O dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.
We have no country of our own,
We who sleep in glory;
We died your hatreds to atone,
Still you shun our story;
Oh write no more on any stone,
Pro patria mori;
O dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.
Marian H Neudel

9 comments:

Mother of Invention said...

We don't really have this day, besides Remembrance Day. Do you go to services and wear poppies today?

Akelamalu said...

It's good that you Remember the fallen. As MOI said we have Remembrance Day here to do the same.

GEWELS said...

It would be lovely if we did wear poppies- wouldn't it?

Unfortunately- this Memorial Day, My friend Chuck spent it at the funeral of a friend's son who died in the war. How many more funerals will we have to endure before this is over?

Lovely shots of Arlington Cemetary.

Barbara said...

I feel angry that so many new stones have appeared at Arlington Cemetery over the past few years. These are mostly vital young men in the prime of their lives whose lives have suddenly been terminated. All they can do now is lie in peace with the thousands of others who reside there.

Dave said...

I went to DC from the Sinai to help accept a maintenance award that my company won. We had a rehearsal one morning and the ceremony the next which left me only two afternoons to see Washington. The first day I went to the Air and space museum, walked around the capital building, and walked to Arlington to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the unknown soldier. It moved me so much that I had to go back the second day to see it again. What precision! Anyway, that left me with enough time to walk the rest of the Vietnam Memorial but I didn't get over to see the White House. Of all the things to see there, it was still worth taking those precious minutes to see the changing of the guard a second time. Still chokes me up!

soubriquet said...

The poem says it all.
"Oh write no more on any stone,
Pro patria mori;
O dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori."
I have, Thank God, not ever had to represent my country in an encounter of war. But I have stood, head bowed, at many a ceremony of remembrance.
The poets of the first world war expressed so well that anger at the blind machine of politics, and those comfortable, plump, middle aged men of government, whose decisions fed the best of the nation's young men into a machine that turned youthful laughter into gravestones.
And for what?
The first World War begat the Second.
First Gulf war begat the second.....
We seem doomed not to learn.

Annelisa said...

Whoah! When you see gravestones all lined up like that, it really hits it home, doesn't it!

If it wasn't for the sad subject, I'd say those were really good pics. No, they are good pics. it's just a shame that all those poor guys died to make it :-(

GrizzBabe said...

Happy Memorial Day! Two days late.

kissyface said...

You reminded me of Wilfred Owen's famous poem, which I had to study sophomore year of high school, Dulce et decorum est -

http://www.english.emory.edu/LostPoets/Dulce.html

"an ecstasy of fumbling..." what a line.