Monday, May 30, 2016

88 hours

If we observed one minute of silence for every US soldier killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last 15 years, we'd stand here for 88 hours.

The cost of war is not money.

On this Memorial Day, the least we the living can do is pause in our holiday to honor the anguish of a thousand grieving mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, and children.  If you have been spared this burden, take a moment, right now, to remember those who were not.


John Davis Frain said...

Thank you.

Megan V said...

May those left behind find comfort and solace, and may the dead rise up on eagles wings.

roadkills-r-us said...

So very much.

There was a memorial video at church today. It reminded me how pissed off I am that young men and women get sent off to kill and maim, to be maimed and died, because of stupid actions by other people.

I realize that sometimes the alternative is worse. I very much appreciate the sacrifice our military personnel are willing to make,but I still hate it.

Lord, deliver us from ourselves.

CynthiaMc said...

We take Memorial Day seriously in our family. Between Hubby's family and mine we have everything from the Army privates to at least one Ranger Jumpmaster, one Navy admiral that we know about. My family is mostly Air Force (on Daddy's side) and Navy (on Mom's side). Hubby and I were Air Force. Our son is a Marine. Yesterday we celebrated my brother-in-law's brother-in-law's 99th birthday. He was a WWII Marine in the Pacific. He fought at Saipan. Most of his buddies did not come home.

There is a song called Angel Flight (the flight that brings fallen sons and daughters home). This is an article on how that song came to be, with a link to the song itself. It's a beautiful song that has brought comfort to many families.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Thank you Janet.
Heaven is weeping here in Ct.

french sojourn said...

Well said. May their sacrifices, large and small, never be forgotten.

MNye said...

The Greatest Geneneration lives on in each person fighting for our Freedoms. Today, remember those lost, those scarred, and those left behind in grief.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you

Christina Seine said...

Wow. That is gutwrenching. Every minute of those 88 hours,someone's heart was broken for the husband/father/sister/friend who never came home. One day a year doesn't seem like enough.

SiSi said...

Beautifully said.

Donnaeve said...

I'm not sure which is more striking, the 88 hours or that image. There is another photo of a dog who served alongside a service man, and he is lying down nearby, guarding the casket.

I feel very indebted to those who have sacrificed the ultimate gift of life, those who are wounded, and the all of the families who have loved ones in harms way.

***I hope this post is not used for political rants. Can we please let it go, just for one day? I think we all hear enough the other 364 days of the year without having to hear about it today. Especially today.***

Anonymous said...

At my renfest, every other day of the season, we do our very best to convince the patrons that they walked into 1533 England, not a cow pasture in central Texas. But on this one day, the final day of our festival season, we acknowledge some of the realities instead of just our fantasy.

In our parade, we have veterans march. Anyone who wants to, patron or cast or performer. We hand out sashes so they can show they've served, and we also hand out ribbons to those who have family members who served and may or may not have died. In our fantasy world lit by the fires of history, we do our best to light a candle in remembrance of those who have fallen, no matter where they fell or why.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Prayers for those families who have dealt with the death of a loved one in service to war. As a clergywoman (20 years ago) in a small town, I knew a shell-shocked parishioner who had served under Patton. He tried to come to a worship service but could not sit and stay. Most people understood.

But the most heartrending moment was when I was immediately called by a Mom and Dad after they received notification of their son's death in Afghanistan. I sat and cried with them.

nightsmusic said...

My mother's uncles served in WWI
Three of my mother's brothers served in WWII - one escaped a POW camp in Germany by poisoning his guards (interesting story that) and took a handful of other prisoners with him
My father in law served in the Philippines in WWII - 'Nuff said there
My mother's fourth brother served in the Korean war
My cousin was a Marine in VietNam and lost his foot
My big love in high school proposed to me just before he left for VietNam but I had another year to finish and said "when you get back." He died a month later in a foreign country in a "police action" that should have been labeled as the war it was.
I've lost family members and friends to past wars and the ongoing "conflicts" in the middle east.

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reminded of my freedom and what it took to keep it. Every time I complain about the government, a candidate, a news article, or just complain, it's on the wounds and deaths of those who served that gives me that ability to do so with freedom.

Thank you, Janet, for your post.

Ann Dominguez said...

Thanks, Janet.

Dena Pawling said...

The story behind that photo is one of the reminders I read every year at this time.

Thank you Janet.

Theresa said...

Thanks for the compelling reminder, Janet.

I never stop remembering.

Sherry Howard said...

Thank you, Janet, for the special post today. We must never forget the reason for this day.

Janet Reid said...

Dena's link to the story of the photo

Julie Weathers said...

Memorial Day is to honor all who have fallen in service for this country. It's not for Veterans. Their day is in November. Whether the cause they were called to serve was just or not does not matter, they answered.

Revolutionary War: 25,000
War of 1812: 15,000
Mexican-American War: 13,283
Civil War: 650,000 (estimated 250,000 civilian deaths)
WWI: 116,516
WWII: 405,399
Korean: 33,868
Vietnam: 58,209
Afghanistan: 2,381
Iraq: 4,502

September 17, 1862 the Battle of Sharpsburg was the bloodiest day of Civil War fighting with 22,717 casualties. est 5,000 killed outright. 3,043 missing or captured. Most of those missing felt to be killed, but unidentifiable and buried in unmarked graves. Thousands later succumbing to injuries.

Allied casualties on D-Day est. 10,000 with 4,414 confirmed deaths.


Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

So, when you are wishing someone a "happy" Memorial Day, please remember what it commemorates. It used to drive my father who lost many friends in WWII nuts.

Joseph Snoe said...

Sobering reminders

Celia Reaves said...

May all those who carry scars of their service in mind, body, or spirit find peace. Thank you. And let us all remember that those who stay home serve as surely as those who fight.

Colin Smith said...

Wow, you guys.

Unlike a lot of you, it seems, I don't know of any immediate family, either on my side or my wife's, who have fallen in combat. For that reason, remembering the fallen doesn't come as instinctively to me as it does others. Because I don't have uncles, brothers, loved ones who were torn from my life as a result of answering a call to duty, I need posts like this to remind me of the price so many have paid to keep our borders safe, and restrain evil in this world.

Thank you Janet for this. And thank you to those whose lives have been shaped by the heroes they lost. By sharing their lives, you honor them, and humble us all.

NM: "... one escaped a POW camp in Germany by poisoning his guards (interesting story that) and took a handful of other prisoners with him"

Uh, yes. Do go on! :)

Julie: Wow and double wow. That's an incredible, and terrible list.

Lance said...

Thank you, Ms. Janet. This is an important day.

Thank you, Julie W. A lot of people don't understand the difference. This day is not to honor the living.

Donnaeve said...

Sigh. I do know the difference. I suppose in my mind we ought to be saying thanks (every day) for all of them - no matter what the official holiday means.

Several in my family have served. There's my Uncle Bobby in Michigan - Purple Heart recipient. One of my uncles (Mom's side) served under Patton. Actually, every one of my Mom's brothers and sisters served. She was the youngest, just a child when they did. My grandfather on my father's side served.

RachelErin said...

Because this day is for those who serve, not just veterans, I always want to give a shout out to 'the other army' of our diplomatic Foreign Service officers, who also serve abroad, often in danger, with their loved ones, although with different training and mission than the armed forces.

It is also impossible for me to see the counts of our own soldiers and not count those of the other of the heart breaking parts of being human is that for every brave U.S. soldier who has fallen, there are families on the other side who have sacrificed as well. (One of my best friends married someone who spent months in college camping in a tent with a cardboard sheet where he tallied the deaths from both sides of the war in Iraq...even in 2004 it was startling how many more lives were lost on their side).

I pray for the day both sides can resolve disagreements peacefully, without asking for lives of our compatriots. (I say this with full respect for the armed services...our world is a broken place where some are still called to put their lives on the line, and I am in awe of my fellow citizens who risk that. But I also empathize with the families suffering losses on the other side).

And in memory of my grandfather's service, and for all those broken by war in a time when invisible wounds were not recognized. May we work towards healing of minds and spirits as well as bodies, for those who have served our country.

Elissa M said...

Thank you, Janet.

And thank you Dena for the link to the story behind the photo.

I just came from a local Memorial Day service (I play in a community band). Most of the speakers were active or former service members, so they pretty much understood the purpose and significance of this day.

I am the daughter, niece, sister, and wife of career military members who all served in time of war. I have visited veteran's cemeteries and paid my respects more often than one day a year. I understand the sacrifice that was made for us, and for our country. And I thank God that I never had to swap a blue star for a gold one.

Lennon Faris said...

Thanks, Janet.

nightsmusic said...


My uncle was taken prisoner by the Germans and sent to a POW/concentration type camp where the lucky ones were given a 'job' until they couldn't stand anymore and the unlucky ones were...beyond the reach of the Geneva conventions. He was assigned to the kitchens, cooking for the Komandant and his officers. Though they cooked a great amount of food, they and the other POWs were fed on gray water and a piece of bread the size of a crouton. After watching a few of his buddies starve to death, he decided he wasn't going to be next. So, when he peeled potatoes, he would surreptitiously stick some of the peels to his legs (starchy, gluey, wet potato skins) and smuggle them back to the barracks. It was winter so he was able to collect a lot and keep them frozen. I'm guessing the fuel oil came from the tiny stove in their barracks which was only lit when an inspection was done so the Germans would be warm. It was put out immediately after they left so whatever was left behind, and it wasn't much, was also secreted away.

My family is from Scotland. My grandfather and uncles all made whisky. All the time. My uncle was very good at it by this time, he'd learned at an early age. He knew how to ferment the potato skins and added enough fuel oil to the 'liquor' to make the guards sick. I don't remember what else he used, but it was definitely a poison when he was done. They got 'chummy' with the guards enough that when they said they'd cooked up some Scots whisky and would the guards want to try it...most all of the officers were corrupt in some way, so those closest who could raise the alarm were all given some. And there was a lot to be had, he'd made sure he had enough to do the job. The guards drank, got drunk, then sick, then reacted to the whisky and went into convulsions giving my uncle and a small handful of GIs time to get out. The others were too afraid but did not alert anyone either which gave my uncle's group time to get under the wires and out of the camp. They walked for two nights before they felt comfortable enough to approach someone who sheltered them and helped them get across enemy territory. He never knew what happened to the GIs who stayed behind. And he only talked about the whole thing one time.

I was mesmerized. I'll never forget it.

Colin Smith said...

NM: Wow! That's a great story. And what a brave plan. He must have had a high degree of confidence it would work--I can only imagine what might have happened if it hadn't. What a heavy burden, too, thinking about those that stayed. I can understand him not wanting to talk about it.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Kae Ridwyn said...

Thank you, Janet.