MEMORIAL DAY…
(another from a long, long trail a-winding…back to what seems like ancient history…now)

This is not one of our favorite celebrations of the year. There are just too many somber reflections in our mind about it…another from a long, long trail a-winding…back to what seems like ancient history…now.

Perhaps it’s just because we’ve become to feel “antique” if not borderline “archeological”, and can’t help but wonder why we’re still here…like a lone giant fir tree left standing in a forgotten clear-cut patch of forest land once called…the Korean War…and its “ghost soldiers” of that forgotten conflict (so finely expressed by the dimly visible thousands of faces peering back at us from the polished black granite retaining wall of the Korean Memorial in Washington).

Yet, we don’t begrudge that reality, after all, it was the ‘50s and America was busy cranking up the Boomer years after the harder and more significant conflict of…WWII. Our parents and other relatives had all served in it (yes, our mother did wear combat boots as one of those very early WACs), so in the broader scheme of things it was our turn to do what needed doing in the face of the bi-polar world of two opposing ideologies which emerged from that great conflict… to be called the Cold War. In that context, Korea was just the front end and Vietnam an equally bloody end of that period.

Even so, as conventionally ritualized as it has become…Boy and Girl Scouts marking soldier’s graves…ceremonials and pompous speeches…competing with major sales events and back yard barbecues…or other celebrations like those thigh-flashing prancings of Carnival…the Indie 500…air shows…we can still find comfort in all of that because…it’s the American way…and smile at it.

Well, tomorrow we’ll join an old friend and associate, a Vietnam veteran and recording artist, whose album-Voice of America- epitomizes it all so well, and just as we’ve done for the past twenty-five years share happy recollections about absent friends, while sloshing down a few measures…or two…both now like so many others just old soldiers…who haven’t yet faded away. But mainly we’ll take the time to pause before we do all that at the new Korean Memorial at the Presidio here in San Francisco, where our South Korean friends just placed some soil from their homeland there as a gift of grateful thanks…making it nice to know while “ghost soldiers” may be forgotten by many…they are remembered by some.

CENTURION