This printing is the 2016 Memorial Day weekend issue of the News Bulletin. It’s a good time for We the People to go introspect. What is the weekend about? How did one day become Memorial Day? For your information, it started with horrible stuff. It started with the Civil War.
Over 620,000 men were killed in action and another estimated 876,000 died of injury or disease resulting from that disagreement. No other American war has ever been as devastating. That war started in the minds of the people – the most blatant example of how all wars start in the human mind. Hell on the inside is an individual’s personal misery. On the outside, if Hell can be qualified, for this country the Civil War was the worst Hell on Earth.
In 1868, the 30th day of May was designated as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the inconceivable number of marked and unmarked graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. After World War I, the 30th of May became a day of remembrance of all those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday to be celebrated each last Monday in May giving the American people a three day weekend. Silence, taps are played – 3 PM each time zone – Monday a day of flowers, flags, visitations to cemeteries and contemplation.
Around the Mound this Memorial Day weekend a little non-profit called “A Veteran Affair” with the appreciated sponsorship of Springer Electric Cooperative and the Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation shall host a 2nd, now annual, village art fest. The fest was the idea of a Vietnam veteran and is the work of his wife. It is based upon a hope that the wars and dissensions human creatures seem to accept as normal behavior will cease. It is a hope that our innate longing for peace, which seems to have been stashed in back of a stuffed cabinet in a file marked “impossible dream,” will reignite in all our hearts.
And you ask, “What does an art fest have to do with an impossible dream?” Why would anyone attempt a festival of the arts in a shabby village one exit off a north – south highway, without a café, without a grocery, without an ATM in the middle of a wind swept prairie during the weekend based upon aching hearts and heavy remembrance? Good question.
It is much easier to sit in a rocking chair on a porch counting turkey vultures than it is to try to do something out of the norm under that big old volcanic rock. Under that rock, as elsewhere in this beautiful state, are those who know first hand the sorrow caused by war, and those who know those whose hearts break each time they hear the notes of taps, and those whose tears fall unabated when the chords of Amazing Grace rise upon occasion.
Reflecting upon emotions evoked on the last Monday of every May, a tune, a refrain from an anthem by Bob Dylan often catches and breaks in the vocal cords: “… how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned? …The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”
In quiet moments, one might wonder if an individual can do anything to change the acceptance of what appears to be, of all God’s creatures, only human in nature, change the attitude of glorifying acts of destruction, the attitude of justifying man’s inhumanity to man. Starting first with the battles that rage in our own hearts, how in blazes can a person begin to make a difference?
When grandma desires to express her love to a grandchild, she stitches a quilt. That is art. When auntie needs to calm her worry, she knits an intricately designed wool coat. That is art. When uncle is angry he takes a blow torch to an old car frame and rebuilds from rust to running an old ’32 Chevy. That’s art. Sister struggles with her self-esteem so bakes delicious cakes decorated with butterflies and pink roses. That’s art. Brother tills the soil, plants the seeds and harvests healthy delicious fruit. That’s art. Painting, writing, carpentry, gardening, pottery, music, photography – all of that is art if it comes from the heart. Art is personal. It is the unique way an individual creatively expresses the beauty that is within themselves. Art can help to assuage the distress, can help to sooth and uplift.
Should one seek beauty, one will find joy. When one feels joy one does not wish to engage in activities that bring misery. When one gazes upon the horizon to see the full moon gold and orange setting upon the mesa’s rim, when one gasps in awe at the morning mist glazing the Mound in a silver hue, when one laughs over a silly tale with a distant loved one over the phone, that is beauty. That is precious. Art expresses the precious. Art is communication – one human heart to another.
You are most sincerely invited to the 2016 Wagon Mound Art Fest on Railroad Avenue this Memorial Day weekend, May 28, 29 & 30. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to spend a little time enjoying a community Around the Mound, to feel a need to rekindle that dream, that longing for Peace. Thank you very much. me
2016 9:10 pm