Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day


At graduation, after the national anthem
during the address a member of the House
of Delegates inspires the graduates to defy
the odds & take on the world, with well worn
cliche's & quotes from Miley Cyrus.

My eyes drift to the championship banners
that cling to the walls of the gymnasium

    Football        1933
    Basketball    1927

Seventy nine years---- is a long time
to be celebrating the same last win---

The words drone to an end, the band blows
horns & bangs drums as kids toss their
caps in the air & cheer. The Senior class files out
as we stand---clap, clap, clapping---

When we get home, my nephew
will open his gift from us, a shirt emblazoned
with the name of the college he accepted,
only, last week he changed his mind & enlisted,
his mother livid, like mine was when I tried,
but unlike me he's eighteen & needs
no one's permission

In his card, I wrote,"Do what you want, not
anyone else. Once you sign that line, your life
is no longer yours but stands in the place of someone.
You will not always get accolades for the little
things you do to keep us safe and find ridicule
at the hands of the unwilling. Not all men can live
with that---be sure you can & we will always
be proud of you."

And he did.
And we are.
And we will be.
And today, we celebrate the others that did, as well.

Happy Memorial Day everyone. Take time to remember those that serve today, either in our armed services or here or in your hometown to provide us with freedom & safety. Thank you to all who serve and to those that have given their lives, for us.


We are doing just that at dVerse Poets today. Writing to honor those that serve. If you wrote something today to do that, please drop in over there and link in. May peace find us soon, and we bring our soldiers home.

76 comments:

happygirl said...

Congrats to your nephew and we wish him God speed and safety as he commits to service. btw, there is nothing like a hs graduation ceremony to make you realize how long the alphabet is. :)

DJan said...

Thank you for this lovely post, the thoughts of the day, and yes, I will remember and never forget. We must follow our own path, not the path anyone else sets out for us.

Daniel said...

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing this one.

Orange UaPoet said...

how proud you must be of this young man....how proud all of us are...a fitting tribute to those who think and act independently when the call to service hits them.

well done.

Sue said...

I can identify with your nephew's mom, and I would be both proud and worried if my son enlisted. Seems like those two feelings go together often for mothers of adult sons, but even more so in the case of soldiers.

I wish him well!

=)

ayala said...

Congrats to your nephew, I pray that he will be safe on his journey. Thank you for sharing.

R. Burnett Baker said...

You message to him was the perfect encouragement!

The Happy Amateur said...

"And he did, and we are, and we will be." A great Memorial Day post.

California Girl said...

Beautifully put Brian. Your opening stanza is ironic and sad.

Platitudes, we're full of them.

I hope your nephew, if this is true, stays safe.

awakenedwords said...

fantastic, that we could all be so proud

ladyfi said...

Good for your nephew. So glad he's decided to live life on his terms.

Valerie said...

What moving and wonderful words you wrote in your nephew's card. Can I share in your Memorial Day and say how proud I am of the military here and at home.

CiCi said...

Your nephew was already being brave by doing what he felt was right for him to do. He has no idea how much this will change him, but hopefully always for the better.

Lorraine said...

That's beautiful Brian, beautiful

Al_One said...

My nephew did that. We tried to talk him out of it, but when we saw he was decided, we were decided in our support of him. He's home now and doing fine and full of stories.

Hannah said...

Yes, Brian, I love what you wrote to him. I don't think enough really know the weight that that choice holds. Well done.

Eva Gallant said...

Congrats to your nephew!

Daydreamertoo said...

Aww darn, this bought tears to my eyes Brian. Because, yes, they have to act with honour too.
What a lovely tribute. I'm glad the boy had you to tell him to follow his own dreams and not the dreams his family had for what they wanted him to be.
Yes, tears. Darn.

Mary said...

Yes, he has to do what he has to do. May he be safe, and also go to college after he serves, hopefully with help from the GI bill. This was gut-wrenching, Brian. It is easier when soldiers are anonymous, isn't it?

Pat Hatt said...

Quite the task he has undertaken indeed
Some might not always agree at their feed
But so true to be proud of those who do it and have done
Should be thanked and remembered a ton

Laurie Kolp said...

I could easily imagine being at that graduation, and his mom's reaction. Your card meant a lot to him, I'm sure. Have a great day... we're going swimming- yeah!

She Writes Here Now said...

I am most impressed that he decided what he wanted and he went after it. Good for you for recognizing that and encouraging it in him!!

rosaria williams said...

It's a bittersweet send off, for him, and for the family too. Someone has to have the courage to fight, to defend the weak and the weary. He's to be loved, respected, and celebrated for this decision.

Suz said...

what a son they raised
what an uncle you are
bless this family always
I'll keep this young man in my prayers....

emmett wheatfall said...

We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who serve. Their service ensures our freedom to write and speak poetically, something your prompt and poem inspires. You may not be an officer Brian, but you are a fine gentleman, sir.

Susan said...

I love this very personal tribute, which is also a prayer of sadness and gratitude and intercession. May you all be safe!

I think we need an In-Service Day as well as a Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. It is confusing to have a day for the dead and a day for the retired, but not a day for those who persist out there despite the odds. Your nephew, my sister-in-law's entire family, and those of us who serve as teachers and nurses and parents, etc. You are in my prayers.

Matt said...

You really put together amazing poems and verses Brian. Great Memorial Day post, a good tribute to all those willing to put their life on the line.

Victoria said...

Geez, Brian. This did to me what you said mine did to you. All misty-eyed and chills, too. My thoughts and prayers are with him to keep him safe. Should he be deployed, if you send me his address, I'll send an occasional care package. I've done that for a few years now, mostly to strangers. Right now, to my nephew, too.

Teagan said...

beautiful - love what you wrote in his card. what a lucky man to have you as an uncle :)

Tara Miller said...

Thank you for writing this in honor of those who served, and sacrificed. Proud of Chase for the step he is about to take...a little scary, but good!

Claudia said...

love what you wrote him on that card, think when they enlist with 18, they're not quite aware of what it really means, i understand the feelings of his mom, i wouldn't be happy either but thankful for those that let their sons go and those that go to secure safety and freedom

Syd said...

I hope that your nephew will be safe. I wonder about the wars fought on foreign lands where few people in the world even care or understand the customs. I am definitely a person who does not believe in war. But I respect those who choose to fight and to do what they think they must do.

Fred Rutherford said...

Great piece Brian. Really shows how universal the Military is, everyone has a tale. I just love the set up here, great story-telling. The aside about the championships was great, I've thought things like that myself here and there. Thanks, hope you and your family enjoy a happy Memorial day and get the same beautiful weather we have here today, but probably would do for a few notches cooler- 90 here right now, wow. Thanks

dulce ♥ said...

Bravo! Both for your writing and your nephew, Brian!

:-)

hedgewitch said...

Sad commentary in the beginning, the cliches and the ancient victories, but your note is full of wisdom about just why not just the sons of the poor need to serve, but all americans who feel the call. Excellent, reflective piece on a difficult theme.

Steve E said...

would that every parent-child relationship might be one of understanding, love, and pride, such as i read in this post, Brian.

'They' did not say it would be easy, but YOU make it seem so.

manicddaily said...

Good luck to your nephew. My stepson is in the army right now.

But of course your advice is good for anyone. k.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome write, Brian. Personalizes things.

The Empress said...

It's a hard thing to accept, B. Your sister, stands where I stood when my son told me he heard the calling to defend and fight for our country.

Not many in our world feel that destiny.

I don't like to think too much about it, it's very hard, and yet, it's not my life.

jane hewey said...

i admire your authentic perspective here. your voice shines, both through this poem and in the words you shared with your nephew. smoothly worded with lasting effects.

Anna Montgomery said...

I considered the USAFA so I could then afford to attend Colorado College (and I kid you not, try to become an astronaut). However, my scholarships covered tuition and I did not serve. How incredibly different life would have been. Thought provoking verse as ever and I offer my respect to your nephew.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Hard to let them be adults! Graduation is such a tender, sweet time in life. So very young, but they won't realize it until they are old (er). I understand his mom's heart!

adan said...

very touching, and a perfect send off brian, very very well said,

"You will not always get accolades for the little
things you do to keep us safe and find ridicule
at the hands of the unwilling. Not all men can live
with that---be sure you can & we will always
be proud of you."

my own son came to me to sign him into the marines at 17, and i told him right away i would, but first wanted to hear from him why he wanted to

those are moments one always remembers, and i'm glad as hell he made it back ;-)

Alice Audrey said...

Good for him.

kaykuala said...

The young man has the whole world in front of him but it's a little different -it's not his life anymore! That is a very big sacrifice. Your message to him emphasizing this was just classic.We wish him the best!

Hank

Heaven said...

What a lovely message Brian, I was touched. May he and the others remain strong in their faith and always be safe ~

Happy day to you ~

Barbara said...

Congrats and heartfelt thanks to your nephew, peace and comfort and thanks as well to his heart-sore mom! Beautiful post!

zongrik said...

this made me think about the connection between graduation and memorial day.

how many guys went to graduation, and then nothing...now they are memorialized. short lives. :(

Helena said...

My friend's son so longed to join the Army, it was all he ever wanted to do but was denied on medical grounds. His mum was more upset at this than seeing him off on his unsure but desired future. It must be a toughie where love and loyalty are concerned but we're blessed with son's and mums like these......

My best wishes and honour to your nephew - and hugs to his mum..x

PattiKen said...

Congratulations to your nephew. You gave him good advice in your card, but it sounds like he knew it already. I wish him a safe tour.

KB said...

That's great advice.

missing moments said...

A very nice Memorial Day post Brian. May your nephew stay safe!

Anyes said...

what a courageous nephew, Brian. Wishing him to be safe and come back fast back to his family.
No long week-end for us. I hope you and your family enjoyed yours :-)

Betsy Brock said...

Oh nice...and good for him having the courage to do what he wants even when his mom might have a fit. lol. Not everyone can be a soldier...but we sure are thankful for those that can be and want to be.

Thinking of our freedoms today, I was reminded of the death of Kim Jong Il earlier this year and those that were thrown into hard labor camps because they did not mourn or cry loudly enough as his casket was paraded through the streets. Watching on TV, before I knew that, I was stunned at the obvious fake and overly dramatic grief of the people. Now I know that they were literally in fear of their lives.

We may think we apprecaite our freedoms, but I wonder if the majority of us actually understand how wonderful our freedom really is!

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful write, Brian.

Wander said...

Brian...she was waiting for his shade...he was one that made the ultimate sacrifice...

Thank your nephew for me, and every time you praise his service know that others thousands of miles away feel exactly the same

Wander

Anonymous said...

Cool Brian, you gave a little story that was totally in the groove of things. A hard call for parents, but part of our freedom, even though most of us don't want war. A reality someday; peace! gardenlilie.com

Dave King said...

I can relate to all of this. We are in the throes of encouraging a grandson to follow is chosen course - going in the marines - though no one really wants this for him. Difficult to put that aside and be positive with him.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

What a perfect poem for Memorial Day. I wish your nephew my best! I feel for his mother. You've captured so much in your verse. Thanks!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Great post, Brian. Such pride we have in these men and women. All deserving of our utmost respect.

CJ x

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

:) Beautiful beautiful! Thank God for those who serve and sacrifice!

Sanhadji Jabli said...

well done Brian and congrats to your nephew you ve captured magnificently an unforgettable moment of one s graduation Ceremony.

Tino said...

A fine post as ever, I have come to expect nothing less whenever I visit.

the walking man said...

Until my kids there has been a Durfee in every war America has ever fought, including the French and Indian. Your nephew now is a member of the 13%. That is the number of the population who bother to put on a uniform and go off to fight a war our government has sanctioned (be it wrong or right.)

Kudos to the kid...tell him there is no rule that says he can't duck, bob and weave and keep his down once in a while.

Heather said...

oh i just love what you wrote! beautiful!!!!
Congratulations to your nephew. we must go where our hearts pull us....
Just back - lots of catching up to do - hope you had a great weekend!

Karen Glenn said...

Congratulations to your nephew, and I wish him well and wish him luck!

Janice said...

Amen. So well put, Brian.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

Congrats to your Nephew.
The post was very well formed :)

Rebecca S. said...

Really, really good, Brian. May your nephew be safe and well.

AmyLK said...

its scary to have a loved one sign up for the service these days. I know his family will be proud of him.

Annmarie Pipa said...

lovely post.
pls thank him for his service from your blogging friend,

P.J. said...

An excellent post for Memorial Day, Well written and captured.

Pat said...

As a mother, I can understand her pain, but I don't think I would be livid. Proud? Yes. Scared? Definitely.

You even write poetically in cards. Amazing!

Good luck to your nephew!

Goofball said...

wow


Just been spending the night with an Irish colleague in the bar, tlaking about our ancestors in firt World War, not always appreciated . I didn't even know about Memorial Day.

Love your card, so wise

Magpie said...

I am thankful that so many have been able to make that commitment and stand in the gap.

Poetry and Icecream said...

This is a great tribute to your nephew and soldiers who make sacrifices for us all. Nicely done. I pray that your nephew stays safe.