Memorial Day ~ War dead honored - inconceivable numbers since the beginning of time. Athens, Greece, 431 B.C., Pericles delivered a speech equal to the most famous speeches of all time commemorating those inconceivable numbers killed in the Peloponnesian War. May 1, 1865 more than 1,000 freed slaves marched in procession and honored through hymns, prayers and flowers the inconceivable numbers of Union soldiers buried in mass graves - the “Martyrs of the Race Course.” May 1868, Decoration Day declared to honor the more than 620,000 killed in the civil war. Millions and millions killed for this reason and that reason, wars fought for this reason and that reason - and the glorification of war seems a never ending story.
The ramifications of war, horrors endured, brutality, the heart ache, the sorrows also seem a never ending story. Ask a mother, ask a wife, ask a son or daughter how it feels, those emotional, psychological ramifications of combat that never end - millions of killings believed to be justified or not - ask a combat vet how it feels. The brain cannot comprehend the inconceivable numbers of war dead since the beginning of human time. When will the killings ever end?
This past Memorial Day weekend in a small shabby village in Northeastern NM, in an effort to honor life, creativity and beauty rather than sorrows, speeches and taps, a tiny little festival of art transpired. One painting... the VC, the huey, the jungle, three soldiers in the swamp painted by one combat veteran of the conflict of Southeast Asia hung on a dirt wall. One visitor sat before that painting and wrote a poem. The poet had not been in that combat, perhaps did not know what the artist had depicted… but wrote a poem from his heart of what he felt gazing upon that painting Memorial Day weekend 2019. The poem:
The Devil this Day
The devil reigned his fire of death upon us this day.
For the love of my comrade the end will not come his way.
I will drag him from these depths of hell,
The devil this day,
would not take another of our best!
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Rene is vice-president and co-founder of A Veteran Affair. Being a self-taught artist, she writes essays, poems and has a manuscript screaming for time and attention to be completed.
2019 8:14 am