Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five: Rememberance

Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.

This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.

1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? Yes, the choir did The Requiem by Mozart and it was magnificent. We did the naming of those who died this year with lighting a candle for each one and ringing a bell. We had a full service. Lots of people were there.

2. How about Veterans' Day? Nope.

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? Yes, we took a break and rested, spent time together and played. We somehow or another forgot about the parade and missed it.

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? Oh boy, if you read my blog post on this, you would find out the answer. My grand dad was a WWI vet and made me very aware of the cost the WWI vets made. But my dad is a vet, my husband is a vet, my son is a vet. My nephews are presently serving in Iraq. One is a marine. The other is in the army and this is his second time over there.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? I don't, but my mind does. It will pop the memory tape in before I know what's happening. But you know now days it is a lot of pleasant memories.

The bonus question: Did you ever want to serve? I wanted to serve in the Army when I finished high school, but my parents put a halt to that. When I was in college I was recommended for officer training in the army, but at that time I had become a dove and refused to have any part of the military. It was Viet Nam days. At one point I felt led to become a Chaplain in the military, and even went through the interviews, physicals etc. The Navy was ready for me, but I couldn't get the endorsing agency to cooperate with me, so I didn't get in. After that I was too old, but still got invites to be a Chaplain. Sometimes I wish I had and most of the time I am glad I didn't. I wouldn't have been very good at this war stuff. And we went to war the year right after I was trying to get into the Navy Chaplaincy corp. God watches out for fools like me.

(pictures: The pictures of poppies in Flanders field. Pictures of crosses in Flanders Field.)


Jan said...

I never noticed the bonus question until I got here! OH, well--I never thought of serving, even though both of my parents did.

Thanks for writing.

Sophia said...

Thanks for this powerful sharing. Prayers for your nephews and all serving in Iraq to come home soon and safely.

Sally said...

the memory tape of the mind where all of our best memories are stored.

Purple said...

It is really a legacy you have. Enjoyed reading your play.

mompriest said...

the requiem, reading of name, and bell, sounds like a fabulous way to remember and honor...

teachergran said...

Just catching up on my blog reading (new job taking lots of time to learn, leaving less time for reading on the net - probably a good thing in the long run - doing instead of reading about doing), so this response is a bit late.
I remember as a very young child in Illinois going to Veteran's Day and Memorial Day parades in our grandparents' small town, seeing the very old vets proudly wearing their uniforms and everyone clapping and waving small flags. Like you, I never really thought about my personal connection to veterans - a grandfather in WWI, our dad in Korean War (though only stateside), and now my daughter and son-in-law in army (she's been to Iraq once, he's been twice and is now in Afghanistan). (While I was aware of Viet Nam, I didn't know anyone who fought there - the draft ended as those my age were getting lottery numbers.) And like my grandsons, I was even born in an army hospital! Some of the first songs I learned were from our grandpa - years later I found out they were the Marine hymn, the army artillery song, America the Beautiful, My Country 'Tis of Thee, etc.! My heartfelt thanks to all of our veterans for their service. My prayers go with those currently serving and those who have returned home and are struggling to deal with their injuries, both physical and spiritual. The navy lost a great chaplain when they didn't take you!