Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day is mostly the beginning of summer for me. It is also Decoration Day to me. I use to play in the school band when I was smaller and less gray, and we would have to get our instruments out after school was out and then get up early and march and play in the Laingsburg Memorial Day Parade. Quite a task for kids at the beginning of summer! We would collect at one end of town in the elementary and middle school parking lot (looking odd without all the school buses to me) and then march a few miles through our village. The high school band leads and when I was in the middles school band followed just out of hearing range.  We would end at the graveyard. Two brave band members, one high school and one middle school, would head-out into the grave and play taps. One would echo the other one.

I suspect it was emotional or even beautiful, but for us, in the band, we had to not talk or giggle. We knew the capabilities of our trumpet players and would smile as they would mostly hit the notes mostly playing it well. I suspect the veterans and others were happy that we were there. For us it was fun to march and play and an excellent chance to link-up with school friends that many I would not see again until school restarted in the fall.

I also remember spending Memorial Day touring graveyards with my grandparents trying to remember where headstones were and talking about people I did not know or could not remember. I would help grandma plant small (inexpensive–grandma was cheap) flowers. We would drive around all day to strange places with various levels of upkeep, but never shabby. I would listen and try to remember the people and places–none do I recall now.

Turning to today I find the holiday more political than I like, but this is normal for Memorial Day according to Wikipedia: “The history of Memorial Day in the United States is so controversial that it constitutes an area of research.” The President of the United States is in Japan for this holiday. I believe that having the president there on Memorial Day shows how much the world has healed its wounds.

The president is also visiting the Japanese ship the Kaga on Tuesday. This is about the same size as a World War 2 carrier.

600px-DDH-184_かが

Photo from Wikipedia

I do not know if the president is aware that the Kaga is a name well known to WW2 naval historians. IJN Kaga was involved in all the early large battles and was sunk by American planes on June 1942 in the Battle of Midway.

1200px-Japanese_Navy_Aircraft_Carrier_Kaga

Photo from Wikipedia

The wreck has never been found, but part of the ship has been discovered from the initial attack. Apparently, part of the side of the vessel was blown off by American air attacks: Kaga Wreck. There was a search for the wreck of IJN Kaga, but it was not located. In that search, the American carrier that was sunk in the same battle wreck was found: USS Yorktown.

I do not agree with President Trump on much if anything. Visiting an old enemy now ally is not a wrong way to do Memorial Day.

Returning to the holiday and thinking about the IJN Kaga and all those other losses in the wars, I can almost hear the trumpets again, mostly correct. I can imagine that the sound echos in the deep not far from Midway Island.

So summer 2019 starts with taps. With old wounds maybe being finally closed. Welcome summer!

 

 

 

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