Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.
I’ve visited a lot of National Cemeteries over the years, along with a lot of private and State cemeteries where the remains of military personnel and veterans who served over the past centuries are planted. I used to attend Memorial and sometimes Veterans Day ceremonies at the National Cemetery at Santa Fe when I lived in New Mexico.
One thing I’ve always appreciated about National Cemeteries, even Arlington, was the tasteful, somewhat understated and even egalitarian approach by the caretakers to those burial sites.
But that was before the presidential wars of the 21st Century and the need to glorify the whole idea of those who served in the military. Suddenly, post-9-11 a surprisingly large piece of the population was singing the song of the spanking new fad, “Thank you for your service!” Pretending all those who served were heroes, had dodged bullets of some enemy who wished only to rob us of our freedoms. We veterans ‘fought’ for the freedoms, rights, something else ambiguous, courageous, praiseworthy. Although it’s between wars and the fad is declining somewhat, it’s still out there to a limited degree, waiting for the need that will come from the next presidential war to spark public outrage against some group politicians declare are enemies and need killing.
But I’ve digressed. What I was going to write about are the signs that have appeared during the past couple of decades in the National Cemeteries. It wasn’t enough to have the public beating the drums and parroting thankyouverymuch to veterans. Some bright light in the National Cemetery management system decided to make us all Chargers of the Light Brigade by hindsight.
Evidently they couldn’t find any 20th Century poets who expressed mawkish enough sentiments to satisfy their needs. So they rode their lofty mounts back to the times between the Mexican War and the Civil War to Theodore O’Hara and his poem, The Bivouac of the Dead. And they sure as hell found a level of absurdity and theater there to bring the 90% of the dead vets who never saw a day of combat right up there with fixed bayonets and bloody comrades.
So, even though VA hospitals across the country appear to have a lot of difficulty providing services to veterans legally eligible to receive health care services and the historical buildings are falling apart, the residue of synthetic heroism still resides across the hill in the graveyard, The National Cemetery managed to afford somewhere between 10,000 and 38,000 Christmas wreaths made of real pine to place on those stones.
But at least they didn’t allow the affluent mothers of young men killed in the last couple of presidential wars to put their helmet-bayonet-fixed-rifle-and combat-boot memorials in the National Cemetery. Nope, they made them put those up by the front gate to the Medical Center.
There are seven of those up there to ponder, along with a couple of empty block of granite in place for more if the moms and pops lose one and want to remember their son in such a way.
We Americans are such patriots, we are.
Thanks for the visit..