Today is, in the United States, Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.” ~from the Wikipedia article, accessed 5/25/2009
I also look upon this day and find it somehow strangely fitting that it is near Walpurgisnacht, and its traditions of lighting bonfires to ward of wandering ghosts, that we in the U.S. remember and honor our Fallen Soldiers.
I have many thoughts ranging through my mind about this holiday, this Holy Day.
Today I remember my nations fallen soldiers, and more. I remember the fallen soldiers of the Revolutionary War, who fought to make our Nation.
I remember the Confederate War Dead; I may disagree with much of what they fought for ( see some of histories complexities here, and here), I cannot deny that their sacrifice helped to create the United States I know today.
While I do not agree with how my Nation has treated the Native American Peoples, I choose to honor all of the fallen dead of the Little Big Horn, and all of our other “Indian” wars; their sacrifices too, have shaped my Nation.
Perhaps I shall observe a moment of silence at 3pm my local time, a custom I had not known about until reading the Wikipedia entry! Tonight I shall pour libations and make offerings of incense unto Hecate, and the Honored Dead.
The customs I hadn’t known about, perhaps because none of my relatives has died in a war in living memory, these are bothering me… shouldn’t the meaning of this day be a part of the fabric of my culture? It is strange to see how far from honoring the U.S. War dead we’ve come, sometimes, in regards to memorial day. Businesses are closed but it seems so much more an occasion for a three-day party week-end and lots of crass sales. On the other hand, is this better than simply being lost to the flow of history, as Pearl Harbor Day has largely been? My father tells me that there were observations on December 7th for years afterward… now though I sometimes think I would be hard pressed to find folks who knew its significance, it seems to barely get a mention.
Let us remember! Let us come together as Kindreds and Covens and Groves, let us come together across religions as Pagans honoring the spirits and memories of those who have given their lives for our nations continuing struggle towards that more perfect union!