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  • Ted Sherman
    ... -- Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and Mythopoeic Literature Box X041, Department
    Message 1 of 1 , May 27, 2000
      Carol Barton wrote:

      > This is not an encomium to war, a defense of military strategy, or a
      > diatribe on foreign policy. Nor is it hermeneutical exegisis,
      > deconstruction, or literary criticism. It doesn't address Milton, or
      > Shakespeare, Chaucer, Donne, or Pope, or Swift. What it is, is a
      > reminder that Memorial Day is about more than the beaches opening, and
      > the stores running their marathon sales, and the picnics and pool
      > parties and barbecues you will attend this long weekend, if you're
      > like most of America. It's a thank you, to the men and women among us
      > who endured the hell of war so that we might know the blessings of
      > peace, the scared kids who didn't want to go to Normandy and Saigon
      > and Seoul and Da Nang, but were terrified not to, lest the enemy come
      > here instead. It's for the kids who came home in one physical piece
      > with their hearts and brains scrambled, those who lost an arm or a leg
      > or an eye or their minds, those who came home in a box or a body bag,
      > and those who never made it home at all, for whom we naively wore MIA
      > bracelets and marched in protest and said prayers, as though those
      > gestures and talismans could protect them from being tortured, maimed,
      > and killed.. It's about those who endured the privation of the
      > battlefield, the hostility of foreign hosts, the misery and the
      > loneliness and the unspeakable terrors of bombs and grenades and
      > strafings and minefields and snipers and watching your buddy die
      > before your eyes, feeling guilty because he caught the bullet or the
      > shrapnel or the napalm or the grenade that may have been meant for
      > you. It's about kids of eighteen or nineteen years old being send
      > halfway around the world to do the work of men, kids who, unlike the
      > sons of privilege, inhaled, long and deep: the stench of battle, the
      > smell of blood, the bitter aroma of the friends with whom they had
      > laughed and drunk and showered and dreamed of home, lying dead and
      > dying all around them, and they carried nightmares back with them in
      > their satchels to wherever they returned in the good ol' U.S.A. or
      > Merry Olde England or whatever country had sent them to protect its
      > shores. For some of them, those scars have never quite gone away,
      > inside the picket fences and the flower-bedecked lawns of a
      > civilization at peace. This is a thank you to all of those who
      > recognized with Edmund Burke that all it takes for evil to prevail is
      > for good men (and women) to stand by and do nothing. No matter what
      > conflict you served in, no matter how wrong or right the generals were
      > who sent you wherever you went, thank you for being brave enough to
      > go. I can remember cringing in my bed, terrified, as a child during
      > the Cuban missile crisis, the TV blaring the latest news from Havana
      > while I prayed that God would let my little sister grow up. I remember
      > the air raid drills and the bomb shelters and the stories my mother
      > told me of Lord Haw Haw sniggering, "Bristol, look out: you're next!"
      > and of being on bomb watch and in air raid evacuation shelters in
      > London during the strafings. Even so, I only know the very least of
      > what war can do. And so I salute you, all of you. You kept me, and
      > people like me, from harm, people who are lucky enough because of you
      > never to have seen the trouble you've seen. I know from past
      > experience that this note will bring on strident attacks from several
      > quarters, but that doesn't bother me. After all, you defended me. The
      > least I can do is return the favor. With no apologies for the
      > authorship, which is solely mine, or the cross-posting, which will
      > allow me to reach the people to whom I need to speak, happy Memorial
      > Day to all. Carol Barton

      Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor
      Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams
      and Mythopoeic Literature
      Box X041, Department of English
      Middle Tennessee State University
      Murfreesboro, TN 37132
      615 898-5836; FAX 615 898-5098
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