Why, Lizzie Beth, you like to give me a fright. I was just setting here thinking and didn't hear you pecking at the door. Come right on in and get you a chair.
No, I weren't here yesterday. Bernice sent her boy to bring me to Decoration Day at their cemetery over on Ridge Top.
You know I love Decoration Day and visiting with all the Quiet Ones -- and I know a good many of them up there on Ridge Top.
We set out flowers and they had little American flags for all the veterans, even the ones that fought in the War Between the States, which seemed kindly strange to me. And that's some of what I been setting here studying on.
There was a feller there gave a speech about how Memorial Day was started to honor the folks who died fighting for their country and how at first it was just the Union soldiers what was honored and the Confederates had a different day but then they said Memorial Day could be for both sides. Which makes sense, you know, for they all believed they was fighting for their homeland. Though some, I reckon, was fighting because they was conscripted and didn't have no choice.
And that got me thinking. Now that they don't have the draft anymore, I guess men, and women too, sign up of their own free will -- though I've known of several troublesome young uns right here in Marshall County that the judge told them they could choose between jail and enlisting and so they joined up.
I wonder, if those same young uns got blowed up by a land mine, would you still say they sacrificed their lives for their country? And if they got sick and died or if they got killed in an accident and not in battle, are they still heroes?
And what about them that came back home from war but had been so ruint by what they'd done and seen that they went to drugs and ended up dead? Seems to me they ought to count as much as the others.
Oh, how I do run on. . . don't pay me no mind, Lizzie Beth. I been setting here studying on all this too long . . . thinking on how many wars there have been in my life and how many Memorial Days I've gone and stuck flags on graves. And wondering if ever there will be an end to war and these young uns going off to die.
Of course we had ought to remember them -- for their folks's sake as much as anything. When you've lost a young un, maybe it eases the hurt to hear them called heroes.
But you know what I wish? I wish that instead of planting poppies and waving flags and having picnics, some smart folks would set to and work as hard at making peace as they do at making war.