Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day

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.

When I was very young, I learned to play the trumpet. One of the first songs I was set to, after learning scales, was Taps. It is all open C, all in the position of your jaw and lips, no valves pressed. This makes it very challenging for the beginning student, because you have to learn position, breath, and tone to play it. And I could never get it right, because I knew, deep in my heart, what it sounded like. It was right out of memory, one of the first sounds I can remember, and I was so close, but not there even when the teacher said I passed.

Dad would leave the house when I tried to play it. No matter if it was right before dinner; if I was going to practice trumpet, dad was suddenly... elsewhere. He also became a staunch supporter of me switching to piano lessons - possibly the only time in my life when I got frustrated and wanted to quit something, and he didn't even try to get me to tackle it harder instead.

Years later, I figured out that I never could get it right because I was trying to play the bugle with a trumpet, and waiting for the crack of firearms, the sound set to a splash of vivid green of grass and white of the folding chairs' seats right at my eye level as I toddled past white stones taller than me.

And I learned why dad left in a hurry. Oh, G-d, did I learn.

We will remember them.


  1. Yep, dusty in here all of a sudden...

  2. It may be an old post, but.......

    The first funeral I remember attending was my uncle's. KIA, RVN, May 1968
    I remember the Marine honor guard, in his khaki uniform. A cousin who fought on Iwo Jima.
    Then the funeral with the men in dress blue uniforms, M14's and the flag that snapped as they folded it......... And that bugle......

    I still cry when I hear taps. I can't help it. (and I still have brass that I policed up after they retired)

  3. don't even remember where I stumbled over here from but those guys up there are correct. It's dusty in here - makes my eyes burn. Like Schwartzenegger (sp) said:" I'll be back!"