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Memorial Day 2015

Wise County Civil War Group
Wise County Civil War Group

Memorial Day is mostly about the Civil War. These shirt tail relatives and at least one direct ancestor pictured here (Thomas Jefferson Addington) made it back, but many did not. Men from this Virginia county fought both for the Union and the Confederacy. The photo was taken Memorial Day, 1912. I favored the Confederacy when I was young, but once understanding came, switched sides.

It’s a mixed bag as to whether people understand the meaning of Memorial Day. It’s not Veterans Day. We have another holiday for that. Many politicians get it wrong and talk about taking care of veterans. Today is about remembering soldiers who gave their life in the line of duty.

This is also the first of four days mostly off work and I was at it early. Reading in bed at 3 a.m., up around 5 a.m. to work in the kitchen, and then outside to mow at 2 p.m.

When I finished the mowing, I took a rake to the turned soil, working it for tomorrow’s planting if the dry holds. The vegetation in our yard is growing out of control. Four days may not be enough to get the yard in shape.

During the peasant’s revolt of 1381, 14 year-old King Richard II capitulated completely to the rebel demands at Mile End. He ended up reversing his decisions, but for a brief moment the peasants rose up, believed they had ended their servitude and changed the course of history in ways we can’t even fathom today. The pessimist in me says it was inevitable Richard’s promises would not be kept. The optimist in me looks to the possibility of common people joining together in a cause to overturn, even if only for a while, the status quo and embark on a new and more just path in society.

Have to hope the latter is possible and that it has some local application.