I recently had a discussion with a friend (a veteran) regarding an email he received. It was an email full of glurge, about how birds could can exhibit bravery, compassion, loyalty, etc. The message was entitled, “His Eye Is On the Sparrow“, and was quite touching; the included pictures were heart-wrenching. The problem we both had was the way the email opened:
“While many use this holiday weekend to celebrate war and those who engage in it, there are other forms of courage, kindness, tragedy, and other innocent hearts filled with forever love of for the also innocent…” [emphasis mine]
Ugh! That’s all quaint and warm and fuzzy except that it’s both profoundly stupid and grossly flawed reasoning. It’s stupid in that no one in his right mind celebrates war, and the reasoning is warped because birds didn’t end slavery, demolish Nazism, or stop ethnic cleansing. Most of us observe Memorial Day as a time to reflect on the sacrifices made, to consecrate the blessings achieved in blood, and to say thank you.
This is a photo of my uncle Horace. He was born in 1920 and died by his own hand in 1945. He was wounded while serving as a machine gunner on a B24 Liberator. From what I’ve been told, he never did get over his injuries and chose to end the suffering.
Look into his eyes. His skin tore and burned just like yours might. His bones broke just like yours might. And his mind no doubt went wild in horror, just like yours would. But there was a terrible cancer upon this earth, and he rose to try to help excise it.
Dear readers, have a safe and happy holiday, and if you could be so kind and respectful, amidst the car races and the hot dogs and the beer, stop for just a moment and think of my uncle’s face. He never got to have a career, children, or grand kids. He never got to earn his college degree or celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary. He missed out on a lifetime of Thanksgivings and Christmases. He never watched humans on the moon, listen to the Beatles, or fuss with the Internet. Gone, baby, gone. Just meditate a prayer and whisper a soft thank you.
With that, we give heartfelt thanks to all who serve, active and reserve. Thanks to the past, present, and future members of the United States Marine Corp, the United States Army, the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and the United States Coast Guard.
Cross-posted at eBirdseed.com