Sunday, May 27, 2007

memorial day

I was sailing around the Puget Sound this morning, breathing the smell of salt spray, embracing the wind in my hair and the cool damp morning air that rosied my cheeks and moistened my skin. I thought how lucky I was; that this is what it's all about. I thought about someone I miss and wished he were here to enjoy. I thought about my family, and wished they could share.

And then, I thought about the men and women and children in Iraq ... and wondered what their day was like ...

According to CNN, as of May 24, 2007, 3,711 coalition troops have died in the war in Iraq: 3,435 Americans, two Australians, 149 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, three Latvian, 19 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians. Total wounded amounts to more than 25,500.

In honor of those from
all nations who died on the bloody front lines, I share a moment of silence for one of my favorite poems.

    Do Not Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.

    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    Mary E. Frye, 1932.

18 comments:

kj said...

bibi, i love this poem. thank you for giving me pause to stop and remember. i also think about the stunning number of indiviuals and families in iraq who have lost their lives and their homes.

i keep wondering why human advances in technology don't follow human advances in resolving conflicts...

:)

MSU gal said...

Thanks for reminding that it is more than the Americans who are dying for this cause!

Kiyotoe said...

i know that poem from somewhere. Now i'm going to go crazy trying to remember where I heard it last.

But thanks for sharing it and reminding us of ALL of the casualties , American and otherwise. Something has to give.....soon.

John Ivey said...

I am growing very close to a woman who lost her boyfriend last year. He was a Vietnam vet. She visits his grave at Arlington Cemetery every so often, and this is the perfect poem for her to reflect on when she does so. Thanks so much for sharing that with us, your loyal readers.

As for the war in Iraq, I don't want to get started, but suffice it to say I believe it is an unjust war perpetrated by evil men. And as msu gal pointed out, your post reminds us that it is more than just Americans that are dying in the Iraqi war. Thanks for the statistics, and thanks for another insightful article.

Becca said...

One of our local radion stations was broadcasting the names and ages of men and women from this area who had died in Iraq. I was shopping in Walgreen's when I heard this broadcast, and was just stopped in my tracks. Hearing all those young people's names and ages was just heartbreaking.

I came of age during the Vietnam era, and was so hopeful that we would never go through that again.

Cazzie!!! said...

I think of the same thing you think of, the every day person's day in Iraq, I look at my kids and we go off to school and whatever, and we do not have to worry each time a plane goes over head, or that today mught be the last day on Earth due to war. I think of it when they off handedly say, ohh, 34 people did at a market in Iraq today..and onto the weather report..YUKK, nope, I am not immune to the 34 people's deaths, I am saddended.
Least We Forget

dinahmow said...

Thankyou, Vicki.

Bibi said...

Thanks to each of you who commented ... not an easy subject for anyone regardless of age, race, religion, or political preference.

I do feel that the US media often overlooks the many, many other nations who've supported America ... and of course, all the innocents who've died during the course of the war.

I first came across this poem at school ... but I seem to remember (and I may be wrong about this) that Princess Diana's sister read it at her funeral. I also used it at my father's funeral.

Best to all ...

Pamela said...

and to our servicemen and women in
Germany
Guam
Italy
Spain
Japan
The Balkans
Korea
Hungary
Afghanistan
... the list will go on

Ian Lidster said...

Very touching, apt and realistic, Vicki. Wonderfully done. On the other hand, and closer to 'our' reality, I also could feel the salt spray in your Puget Sound foray. Tied in well with my Swiftsure blog, except I wasn't out there with them.
Ian

peteknowles said...

Vici this is a very nice way of reminding us that Memorial Day has a more significant --and for some, painful-- meaning. We tend to view it just as "yes! a 3-day w/e!!" Very well put.

Bibi said...

Pamela, you're right ... seems we have coaltiion troops almost everywhere today!

Ian, I checked your Swiftsure ... fab picture and I still think you should go on your sailing trip, LOL.

Pete, I heard we lost 10 more yesterday ... so sad.

Anonymous said...

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.


...an epitaph which adorns numerous memorials in Commonwealth countries as well as sitesof unkown soldiers is "The Ode" by Laurence Binyon

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I've not read this before. It was a good poem.

I feel most sorry for the incalculable number of dead iraqi's - somewhere between 200,000 & 500,000 people.

When will it end?

andrea said...

This poem gave me goosebumps. It's a beautiful illustration of why so many of us find our own versions of peace and God not in churches and temples but in places of natural beauty.

Frank Baron said...

That's one of my favourite poems too. Thanks for the reminder.

Bibi said...

Anon ... thank you so much for sharing that!

Ultra Toast ... mmm, that's the big question that we all ask (...when will it end?)

Andrea ... it's beautiful isn't it. And what better place to find peace than in nature.

Frank ... glad you enjoyed.

Ces said...

I have always loved this poem. Thanks. Unfortunately, I have no answers.