Sunday, May 28, 2023

John Williams - Hymn for the Fallen

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day for reflection on those who gave everything they had and everything they would ever be for something larger than them.  That something is us, and the world is filled with the graves of the fallen, and will likely see new ones until the World is remade.

A lot of people seem to think that Memorial Day is "thank a veteran" Day.  I guess that could work, but only if you were at a cemetery.  The roots of Memorial Day go deep, all the way back to the American War of Southern Independence*, where "Decoration Day" was reserved to take flowers to the graves of the Fallen.  Late May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom in every corner of the Republic.

Nowadays it's the long weekend that starts the summer season.  Trips to the lake, grilling out, and cold beer push the original meaning aside.  Few take flowers to the graves anymore, which is a damn shame.  The Fallen deserve a day of remembrance.

This weekend, we are called to reflect on these fallen.  Art at its best is there to help lead the way.  Classical music used to offer many selections for solemn days like this before it was degraded like all modern art.  Fortunately, Classical music has found a niche where it yet thrives, with talented composers writing new music for the cinema.  Perhaps the greatest of these in our age is John Williams.  He wrote this for the film Saving Private Ryan, where it played during the final credits.  This is a tour of those graves.  Sadly, many Americans have not been to any of these places.

The Fallen remain forever 20 years old.  Remember them tomorrow as you fire up your grill.  I don't think they - or the boys from Gettysburg or Fredericksburg or Cold Harbor or Pearl Harbor or Normandy or a thousand other hallowed grounds -  would begrudge you your family enjoyment.  But remember them.

That's what Memorial Day is about.

* It is vulgarly called the "Civil War".  It wasn't.  The South didn't want to take over the North, it wanted to leave it.



Avraham said...

thank you for this important message to remember and honor their sacrifice.

ASM826 said...

I usually say, "Never go to the comments", but in this case, the opposite is true. Click through to YouTube, listen to the song, and then read the comments. From veterans, from the children of veterans, from people across the pond that remember the sacrifices of the 20th century.

Beans said...

I've been to the Arizona memorial. Went as a 7yo. Middle of summer and it was one of the coldest places I've ever been up to that point. Very haunted, and she still weeps for her sailors.