<< The Body Politic
Preparing for Memorial Day
Friday, May 25th, 2012
This Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day–the day we honor and remember those who gave their lives in defense of our country. Here are some resources to help us prepare.
- At Time‘s Battleland blog, Mark Thompson has an interview with Anna Simon and Ann Hampton, authors of Kimberly’s Flight: The Story of Captain Kimberly Hampton, America’s First Woman Combat Pilot Killed in Battle. Ann and Dale Hampton, Kimberly’s parents, reflect on their loss: “The loss of a child is the most devastating event any parent can experience. Your children simply are not supposed to die before you do and when it happens, it turns your world upside down and causes you to change all plans for the future because your children are your future. Because we had been married 12 years before Kimberly came into our world and she was our only child, we probably had a closer relationship with her than many parents might have with their children. To say the loss was crushing would be a gross understatement.”
- Writing last year in The Weekly Standard, What So Proudly We Hail editors Amy and Leon Kass remind us to “take time to remember”: “Human memory is precarious and requires steady safekeeping. As Samuel Johnson sagely observed, ‘Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.’ We take things for granted. We are distracted. We allow important matters to slip from consciousness. These tendencies are exacerbated in the American republic, with its emphasis on innovation, progress, and the freedom each person has to make himself anew. Americans can enjoy our blessings of liberty, equal rights, enterprise, and religious freedom without consciously appreciating the deeds and stories of those who have made these blessings possible and who have handed them down to us. It goes without saying how collective memory is imperiled today, in an age defined by instant messaging and other enthusiasms for the ephemeral. Against the rushing stream of time, our national holidays are intended to be days of commemoration—not simply days for extending the weekend or getting bargain mattresses.”
- At Commentary, Alana Goodman reports on her time visiting with wounded warriors in Las Vegas last week. As one wounded veteran said, “‘The hardest part had to be because my guys were still there and still going to be there for another three months–hearing about other guys getting injured and killed.’ [...] ‘Why did I only lose one leg and I’m still alive?’ That kind of guilt. ‘Why am I so privileged?’ [...] ‘I believe in fighting for the country and all that. All the cookie cutter statements and everything.’ [...] ‘But really, just like I’ve more or less surrounded myself with such good-hearted people. I can say I’ve been fighting for my country but, really, I feel like I’m fighting for family.’”