jazzoLOG: Memorial Day    
 Memorial Day13 comments
picture30 May 2004 @ 04:16, by Richard Carlson

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

---Henry Miller

Investigate what's right under your own feet. Contemplate it, get to the bottom of it. What is the truth of it?

---Sixin Wuxin

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never let the world within assert itself.

---Hermann Hesse

Courageous Garry Trudeau today. In case your Sunday paper refuses to carry it, see the original here~~~ [link]

July 6, 2009: The link above takes you to the current day's strip. Possibly clicking around would lead you to the archive this far back. What Trudeau listed that Sunday were all the names of soldiers killed by that time in Iraq. He was "courageous" to do so because the government was refusing to divulge casualties and numbers. "We don't do body counts," they said. The government also insinuated no one else should do it either.

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30 May 2004 @ 07:49 by martha : thanks, I'll check
if the LA times carried it.  

30 May 2004 @ 09:31 by Quinty @ : It is not only
shameful but stupid of our administration trying to sweep under the rug the dead and wounded in Iraq. Nor do they even want to take into account the Iraqi dead, those we are supposed to be helping. (Of course, how many in Abu Ghraib were innocent, guilty of nothing, and tortured?) I suppose our president is so mired in falsehood and fantasy that reality is only what appears on TV. And if there are no dead, no caskets under flags, on TV or other media outlets then those dead don't exist. At least not politically. Not in a way the president feels he has to deal with it.

Yeah, we know war is hell. Collateral damage. All that kind of stuff. (Maybe that's why we shouldn't have it?)


31 May 2004 @ 04:32 by jazzolog : Memorial Concert On PBS
I was rather impressed last evening with the live broadcast of The National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC. PBS has shown the concert for several years...and generally it has been standard patriotic fare, which is what this holiday has turned into around here. But the tone and presentation this year struck me as quite different. http://www.pbs.org/memorialdayconcert/ That link can give you an idea of the segments and layers of the program as it unfurled last night.

While the World War II section, narrated in person by Tom Hanks, focused on the new memorial in Washington, and the 60th anniversary of D-Day, again stirringly recalled by actor Charles Durning, who was there, in some ways it was a setup for what would follow about Viet Nam and the current whatever-it-is. For the first time in my memory, we were concentrating on the disabled and wounded...as well as honoring the dead. Durning's account of people blown apart on Omaha Beach built upon an American sensitivity perhaps now ready to see more of the horror of contemporary war. Recent footage of desecration of enemy bodies and torture and murder of captives may have prepared us. (Incidentally, Harry Shearer last night made a rap tune using samples from Bush's supposedly unintentional difficulty pronouncing Abu Ghraib in his speech Monday night. This president is so absurdly disgraceful.) There was a moving presentation by actors Jason Ritter and Joe Mantegna of a meeting of 2 amputees, one injured in Viet Nam and the other in Baghdad. The real soldiers were sitting in the front row. There was footage of injuries on the battlefield, followup in the hospitals, and the difficulties of facing life after loss of limbs in a single instant of battle. Hanks and the actors then moved into the audience to thank personally the disabled warriors who were sitting there. I've never seen this approach to Memorial Day before.

There was nothing pro or anti war about this. It just was what it is. This is what happens...and now we're going to see it. We shall look at these people, and here they are. Following that, the brilliant and beautiful violinist Joshua Bell performed under a canopy of a partial listing of names of casualities in the Iraq War. Still not wanting to be anything like as controversial as Garry Trudeau's strip Sunday morning, the production displayed only the first letter of the first name and the entire last name of victims. It was a moving tribute to those of us who accept military duty and its demand to follow those orders---and yet maintain an ethical identity to the end of one's life...whenever it comes.  

31 May 2004 @ 14:46 by b : The Memorial Day holiday
should be for those who were there. To remember absent companions - those who were there. There where a decision is made in a second in a sight picture from a gun muzzle. Incoming explosions. A comrade is hit, thirty meters away hidden enemy rise up in the tall grass and carry him away. Shoot, shoot, as they dissapear one is already pulling wounded comrades pants down grabbing penis with a knife. Shoot, shoot your comrade. Ethics - only those who were there know.  

31 May 2004 @ 15:35 by Quinty @ : It's almost as if
discussing the casualties were considered an obscenity. As if polite society only waves the flags and chants the patriotic slogans. War is exactly what B said above. If we as a people are not prepared to even acknowledge this cost then how can we send our young people into a war? Before going to war don't we, as a society, need a full and open debate? To understand the costs and the vital necessity to do this to ourselves and to another people?

About Bush not being able to pronounce Abu Ghraib, I saw that and for the full three seconds it hung on his tongue and his eyes popped out I was full embarrassed too. What are we to make of that? Admittedly, it's not an easy word for an English speaking person to pronounce. But if it is used, if it is often said, the proper pronunciation comes eventually without thought. Hasn't our president even spent much time discussing Abu Ghraib? If for no other reason than the impending embarrassment and scandal?  

3 Jun 2004 @ 17:04 by Quinty @ : Is this supporting the troops?
Here's a poem by an old SF friend of mine....



I love it when Art stands firmly on 2 legs and asserts precisely what its power is and what it can do---and does---for a tribe, for a modern society. I just resubscribed to The Progressive the other day: thought it might make an inspiring contribution to my election year coverage---although they, like Mother Jones, go overboard sometimes.


6 Jun 2004 @ 06:51 by Quinty @ : A Digression

Yes, I agree. The Progressive often hammers upon leftist cliches, and any form of rote thinking doesn't illuminate and clarify. I read the Nation like taking good medicine. The problem with the Nation though is that it is often dull and tends to tell you what you already know. Though the Nation has some excellent writers.

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area many years I became addicted to KPFA FM. Speak of going overboard! But they also have an excellent rolodex, with the names of some of the best journalists and academics arounds.

One particularly good one will be on today, if you're interested, from noon (Eastern time) until two, every Sunday. Larry Bensky is a simple seeker after sanity, in this mad world of ours, and can often be very interesting. Just Google KPFA radio at noon to log on. I think he's really good. Quinty  

6 Jun 2004 @ 06:56 by Quinty @ : Furthering the Digression
Well, it appars Bensky may not be there today, and, at least for me, today's show doesn't sound that interesting. But here's what they will have on today, June 6, if anyone is interested.......

Sunday Salon

First Hour:
Youth Activism:
Why Youth Are and Are Not Participating
Guests include Alejandro Soto-Vigil, UC Berkeley graduate and youth activist. Also, Dr. Hardy T. Frye, a UC Berkeley sociology lecturer, professor-emeritus from UC Santa Cruz and civil rights activist (SNCC).

Second Hour:
I Want My MTV!:
Music Videos and Their Influence on Today's Youth and Culture
Guests include Dr. Sederia Badgett, cultural anthropologist, and Dr. Kevin William (tentative), author, Why I Want My MTV: Music Videos and Aesthetic Communication.
Guest Hosts: Sunday Salon Assistant Producer Robbin McCullogh & Intern Michael Soe.

6 Jun 2004 @ 13:59 by jazzolog : Pacifica Forever
Remember the old WBAI in New York? And yet, sadly, we leftists ourselves tore that station to pieces. I was checking out that San Francisco Bay Area website yesterday that was up for a Webby this year. Lord, what a community...and something happening every minute there! http://www.indybay.org/  

29 May 2005 @ 10:12 by jazzolog @ : Memorial Day With Zepp (born in the UK)
The Sweet and Proper Thing
Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori

"Does it matter, losing your sight? There's such splendid work for the
blind, And people will always be kind...."
Siegfried Sassoon

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Memorial Day has always been something of a puzzle to me. It’s a
holiday that commemorates the end of no particular war. It started out
as something called “Decoration Day,” when people would go out and lay
flowers and ribbons on the tombs of soldiers killed in the Civil War.
But the North and the South couldn’t agree on who started the practice
(over two dozen towns lay claim to it), an argument the North eventually
won, and the South subsequently refused to acknowledge the day until
after World War I, when the holiday was broadened to include soldiers
killed in all American wars. Presumably by then the ranks of the widows
of civil war casualties had gotten pretty thin, and florists and ribbon
makers were noticing that business was dropping off.

When I was a kid, we had Remembrance Day. That was on November 11th,
and at 11:11 am, we would gather around the flagpole, wearing paper
poppies, for a moment’s silence. It always seemed more solid, somehow.
You could picture the Johnnies and Kaiser Bill’s boys squatting in
their sordid trenches, listening as the guns magically fell silent. At
11:11 on 11/11 we shared a magic moment that crossed six time zones and
40 some years. Vets from the BEF, ancient and yet resplendent for one
day, would march proudly, and people would sing the old war songs.

Americans celebrate by going to the lake or the forest or their
brother-in-law’s, or by watching cheesy old movies on the SciFi channel,
or just by working without overtime or holiday pay, just one more
pain-in-the-ass three-day weekend that they don’t benefit from.

Most holidays here suffer from that lack of connectedness. Back in
1971, the government recognized that the old way of celebrating
holidays, when people actually celebrated or commemorated specific
events that occurred on specific dates, was bad for business, so they
decided to put all the holidays on the Monday nearest the actual date.
Worse, they took Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday, combined
them, and told the people to celebrate a generic president’s birthday,
usually on a day when no president was ever actually born. It’s no
wonder nobody gives a shit about “Presidents Day” except retailers, and
employees lucky enough to either get the day off or get holiday pay.

Memorial Day, despite the lofty and stirring intent behind it, suffers
from the same problem. It’s a generic holiday. It commemorates no
specific war, no specific event. And for many, if not most Americans,
it’s just a pain in the ass where they have to work harder and gain no
benefit from it.

This year in particular sees Memorial Day with a cloud over it, a cloud
that America has never seen before. True, America has fought unjust
wars before. And true, America has had presidents who lied them into
war for venal and base reasons. America has even seen Presidents use
war as an excuse to suborn freedoms and rights, and thrown innocent
people into camps for stupid and ignorant reasons.

But America has never had Gulags before; not like these. Never had a
vast series of prison camps in which people are thrown without benefit
of trial or even accusation, to be tortured, raped and murdered – by
American soldiers. Never in the 230 years of American history have
Americans seen their military so deeply shamed and disgraced as it has
been by the horrific stories and pictures to emerge from Abu Ghraib,
from Guantanamo, from Basram, and dozens of other camps throughout the
middle east and in the former Soviet republics.

To the rest of the world I say, most Americans understand that this is
wrong, very wrong, and they are angry that it is being done in their
name. It is a shadow that most Americans feel this Memorial Day, a
sense that their country has lost its way in a terrible and foul manner.
Most Americans are not murderous pigs who will imprison a man without
charges or conviction and torture him for information he doesn’t have.

Americans have heard war propaganda from their government before.
Usually it was as benign as such can be, of the “why we fight” variety.
However, a weaker and more uncertain breed of Americans came along in
the past half century, and accuses those who questioned the need for a
war of being anti-American and unpatriotic. And the government never
flat-out lied to the people in order to create artificial war heroes, as
they do not with Jessica Lynch (who didn’t shoot anybody, wasn’t shot or
molested herself, and eventually stood up and said her government was
lying about her supposedly heroic deeds) or with Tillman, the football
player who supposedly died heroically, saving his squad from enemy fire,
but who in fact was gunned down by friendly fire, with no enemy in sight.

Americans have been lied into war before, but never quite as blatantly
as now. Most Americans realize – now – that the administration lied
about WMDs and a host of other things in order to start a war against
Iraq. With the Downing Street Memo, there is no longer any possible
room to believe that Putsch was misled by faulty intelligence, or
misunderstood the situation in some other way. The memo makes it
unequivocally clear that Putsch knew the exact situation, and knew that
he would have to lie about it in order to persuade Congress and the
American people to let him invade and occupy Iraq. America has gotten
into brush wars before for venal and base reasons that had nothing to do
with national security, but never on this scale, or this savagely.

We torture and degrade men against our own most deeply-held principles,
and we do it for the sake of a lie.

It used to be that on Memorial Day, truculent right wingers would
complain about the stories of Vietnam vets being spat upon as they
returned from Vietnam. I’ve never quite believed those stories – would
YOU spit on a man who has been trained in several dozen ways to kill in
hand-to-hand combat? – but would agree that such treatment of a man
returning from a war, just or unjust, was reprehensible. A vile
politician doesn’t trump the honor and courage of a soldier.

But the ones who committed torture, the ones who set dogs on prisoners,
or stripped and humiliated them, or stomped on their holy books, and who
sometimes raped and burned and murdered their prisoners – they should be
spat upon.

And the President who started this war on a lie, and who promoted the
beatings and tortures and other atrocities in the name of that war – he
should be spat upon.

It would do nothing to lift the cloud that has descended upon America
this Memorial Day. Only time, and a retreat from the Gulags and the
bombings of innocent civilians will do that.

But it will show the world that Americans are better than the scum who
torture, or the scum who sent these low people to torture.

But on this day, remember above all that most men and women in uniform
are conscientious, brave, noble. Even when sent into ill-advised wars,
they are doing it for you, hopefully so you won’t promote capricious
imprisonments and torture and war for false reasons.

Below are some poems that came out of an even bigger pig’s mire than
Iraq: World War I.

Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

The Latin title of this poem means:
"Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country."
(From Horace, Odes, III. ii. 13)

NOTE: Owen was killed on 11/11/18, hours before the Armistice took
effect. He had served in the trenches for four years.

Break of Day in the Trenches
Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918)

The darkness crumbles away.
It is the same old druid Time as ever,
Only a live thing leaps my hand,
A queer sardonic rat
As I pull the parapet's poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
Now you have touched this English hand
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
To cross the sleeping green between.
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens?
What quaver -- what heart aghast?
Poppies whose roots are in man's veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe --
Just a little white with the dust.

June 1916

For The Fallen
Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

The Rainbow
Leslie Coulson

I watch the white dawn gleam,
To the thunder of hidden guns.
I hear the hot shells scream
Through skies as sweet as a dream
Where the silver dawnbreak runs.
And stabbing of light
Scorches the virginal white.
But I feel in my being the old, high, sanctified thrill,
And I thank the gods that dawn is beautiful still.

From death that hurtles by
I crouch in the trench day-long
But up to a cloudless sky
From the ground where our dead men lie
A brown lark soars in song.
Through the tortured air,
Rent by the shrapnel's flare,
Over the troubled dead he carols his fill,
And I thank the gods that the birds are beautiful still.

Where the parapet is low
And level with the eye
Poppies and cornflowers glow
And the corn sways to and fro
In a pattern against the sky.
The gold stalks hide
Bodies of men who died
Charging at dawn through the dew to be killed or to kill.
I thank the gods that the flowers are beautiful still.

When night falls dark we creep
In silence to our dead.
We dig a few feet deep
And leave them there to sleep -
But blood at night is red,
Yea, even at night,
And a dead man's face is white.
And I dry my hands, that are also trained to kill,
And I look at the stars - for the stars are beautiful still.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president
represents, more and more closely, the inner soul
of the people. On some great and glorious day the
plain folks of the land will reach their heart's
desire at last and the White House will be adorned
by a downright moron." --- H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Not dead, in jail, or a slave? Thank a liberal!
Pay your taxes so the rich don't have to.

For news feed, http://yahoogroups/subscribe/zepps_news
For essays (please contribute!) {link:http//:yahoogroups/subscribe/zepps_essays}  

30 May 2005 @ 16:36 by Quinty @ : What about the troops?

Yeah, the spitting is true. It happened. But spitting on returning soldiers became a rightwing caricature of the left which opposed the war. What's more, in the sixties and seventies, our troops were all draftees. They weren't volunteers.

Now, to point out that we oppose the war and "support the troops" we seem to have gone overboard to defend them. Who, after all, were sent to Iraq by our nation’s leaders: who truly are at fault and deserve the blame. For the standing army did not expect to be sent off to a trumped up needless war. But when do the troops, in an all volunteer army, finally become culpable? After how many years? For by now everyone should know the war is a fake.

I would like to see decent VA hospitals. It is shameful how the vets and the troops are treated, not just by this administration but by many others. A strange hypocrisy, isn't it? That the pres and his cabinet and the Senate and House all attempt to outdo each other by waving the flag but when it comes to tangibly supporting the troops there's no money. Billions for cockamamie wars and weapons systems but not enough money for the vets in VA hospitals to make phone calls home without paying themselves.

The troops go to war because we (though our reps) send them. But in an all volunteer army when do the troops finally become culpable? They are pretty thoroughly brain washed in training and many actually believe they are somehow defending the United States by fighting in iraq. That they are actually fighting against the terrorists over *there* instead of allowing them to come here. That's all nonsense, of course. But to prove we "don't hate the troops" and "support" them we have completely left them off the hook. What kind of mentality will these people have in years to come? Very rigid and right wing? Will they all be ideologues and true believers? Will they even know that the Constitution takes precedence over the President and his bidding? Or what the Constitution says? Or will we wake up from this nightmare before it comes to that? Will joining the army, once again, become a means of paying for college or finding a job instead of insuring a one way ticket to our imperial wars abroad? Or could there be a draft up ahead?

Happy Memorial Day (I think) Paul  

31 May 2005 @ 08:06 by jazzolog : Wrong About Zepp
It turns out Bryan Zepp Jamieson was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and spent his formative years living in various parts of Canada from Halifax to Victoria, and then the UK, South Africa, and Australia before moving to the United States, where he has lived for 40 years. Aside from writing, his interests include hiking, raising dogs and cats, and making computers jump through hoops. His wife of 25 years edits his copy, and "bravely attempts to make him sound coherent". Zepp lives on Mount Shasta.

30 May 2006 @ 09:58 by jazzolog @ : Memorial Day 2006
From Iraq Veterans Against The War~~~

Cost of the War in Iraq

Iraq Veterans Against the War will spend this Memorial Day in its true meaning of remembrance and not in decadent celebrations of the three-day weekend, barbeques, discount sales events, and flag-waving which has come to replace the image of fallen service members in the minds of most Americans.

We can not, will not, and must not forget those who have fallen from our ranks, and the ranks of previous generations, as we are they and they are we.

No matter what your political affiliation, views of the war or personal convictions, the sacrifice of all those who wear the uniform is undeniable. Instead of celebrating this weekend, let’s take this time to reflect on what personal sacrifice really means.

Those men and women (over 17,000 of them) who return home from war maimed, missing limbs, or sustaining other major injuries have had their lives permanently changed and will forever struggle to have a normal life. As service members, we have lived with the constant anxiety of threats to our lives, have had our morals and consciences tested over and over, and have watched the lives of our friends and innocent Iraqis ripped apart. We will be scarred by those memories forever. The families who have been presented with a gold star know the depth of sacrifice that accompanies a lifetime of awakening without a dearest loved one.

We as Veterans are left with a mere reflection of our lost brothers and sisters in arms. Let us use this reflection to call ourselves to action this Memorial Day, and let us renew our vigor to continue our work to end this current war.

As a nation, many of us enjoy this day without questioning an administration that formulates a war plan based on lies, sends soldiers in harm’s way without proper equipment, fires military personnel who question ill-prepared plans, and castigates civilians who, by speaking out, use and honor the very freedom those service members swear to protect.

On this Memorial Day, join with IVAW to demand:

Bring all troops home NOW!

Take care of those troops when they get home!

Reparations for Iraq!

Copyright © 2005 Iraq Veterans Against the War

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