Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day 2009
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on Memorial Day, 2009! If you're stuck in traffic, I told you not to go to the beach!
When U.S. troops invaded Iraq at the instigation of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, I vowed not to attend a Memorial Day service while they were in office. You know us Scotch-Irish. We can be a stubborn lot.
Today we have a new president in office, a new Supreme Court justice about to be appointed, and the sun is shining brightly. So my daughter The Spare and I re-joined the ranks of the Snobville Memorial Day service.
Spare actually placed the flag for the veterans of the Revolutionary War. I'm in the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution), and she's in the C.A.R. (Children of the American Revolution).
There was a small parade, but a big crowd to watch it. We handed out more than 250 American flags. First time I've felt like touching one in about eight years.
Between my last Memorial Day service and this one, I've become a Pagan. And so it was interesting to filter this community service through Pagan eyes. Of course it opened with a "God the Father" prayer by our local Methodist minister. We sang "God Bless America." (Well, they sang it. Spare and I didn't.) Of course there's that flag pledge that ought to be edited. And then, amidst the patriotic music, our local band (pathetic) played "Amazing Grace."
The mayor noted how our armed services are all voluntary. And those servicepeople are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...
Is it clear yet? Daddy God rules this stuff. Never mind that more and more servicepeople are Pagan.
If I live to hear a mayor include "Pagan" in the list of soldiers serving their nation, I will feel that this is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In the meantime, Spare and I agree that all the Daddy God stuff goes down well with the World War II vets, who are -- gulp -- now doddering men in their 80s.
Even scarier than the WWII vets ... The Vietnam guys have always stood on the margins of these things, almost defiantly refusing to participate. And they still do. But now they're a cluster of gray ponytails and "I dare ya" scowls, back under the tree across the street.
Time has flown. In the fullness thereof, some day a mayor will say, "Jew and Christian, Muslim and Pagan." And the Gulf War vets will dodder to their feet, and someone else's Spare will lay the flag.
For those of you who have been following TGAB for awhile, you'll recall that my family pays calls at the cemetery in Lawnside, New Jersey, where repose more than 100 Civil War veterans of color. (Note to Snobville's American Legion: Lawnside's bugler blows you whiteys away. Word.)
This year my daughter The Heir and I drove down the White Horse Pike (Heir loves the White Horse Pike) until we found a garden store that sells gooey Memorial Day wreaths. We bought one and placed it in the Civil War section of the Lawnside Cemetery. We did it Saturday, thus missing the awesome bugler. And happy day ... the Obama/Biden sign is still there, among the graves!
Time does march on, and peoples' minds get changed slowly. Then the paradigm shifts. A guy named "Obama" moves into the White House, certain states approve marriage for everybody, and women retain the right to choose how to care for their health. Can the day be coming when we won't hear "Amazing Grace" anymore, but instead "My Country, 'Tis of Thee?"