Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunday Concert: Memorial

On this Memorial Day I pause to honor the Americans who have risked their lives or even lost them for their country since the early 1770s.

The angry protestors at Boston,
the young farmers at Lexington and Concord,
my ancestor, shot by Tories in front of his wife and baby,
the weary, cold crossers of the Delaware,
the jubilant victors at Yorktown,

the stalwart defenders of Fort McHenry,
the backwoods boys of Andy Jackson at New Orleans -- who didn't know the treaty had already been signed,

the valient, hopeless, occupants of the Alamo,

the heroes of Buena Vista and Vera Cruz,

the boys in blue and the boys in gray -- both convinced they were risking their lives for freedom my ancestors Lt. William Baird of the 53rd Georgia Infantry shot through the shoulder as he crossed a fence along a plank road at the Wilderness, and teenaged Private Nathan Wood riding far from home with the First Georgia Cavalry.

the doughboys of 1918 in muddy trenches,

the GIs of the fourties clawing their way up the boot of Italy,
sloshing ashore at Iwo Jima or Normandy under unyeiding fire,
marching at bayonet point before Japanese captors,
my father walking the beaches of the Ulithi atoll among dead Japanese, wondering if he'd be called upon to invade Japan,

the freezing American soldiers conducting the police action on the Korean peninsula,

Galen Foster and Butch Moreland and John Kerry and John McCain and all those other contemporaries of mine who found themselves in a jungle half a world away fighting for their lives while I and most of their fellow citizens went to class or work pretty much unaffected by the blood in Vietnam,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obama Says That Under Bush We Forgot Who We Are

President Obama in his speech this morning reminded Americans that America, prior to Bush, did not torture. Obama said that America was the country that opposed torture and that closed down torture camps and established a rule of law. “That is who we are,” he said.

“That is who we are.” We are a nation that does not torture. That seems a good starting point. How could we forget something so important? Obama says that under Bush we were guided by emotion, “fear,” rather than guided by good judgment, “foresight.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Flora and Fauna of Nature's Classroom

Here are couple of dozen pics of the Flora and Fauna of Nature's Classroom near Mentone, Alabama on Lookout Mountain. I snapped these last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during our annual fourth-grade trip. As one critic has noted I am a little skimpy on Fauna, the bashful beasts.