Note—I have been too engaged wrapping up my Chicago Seed memoir series to even re-edit and recycle any of my Memorial Day posts. There will always be next year to review the history and ponder the sacrifices. But after I posted the vintage Memorial Day card above as my Facebook cover for the weekend I was struck by brief inspiration.
Memorial Day 2021
Once wars ended with neat stacked arms—
muskets with gleaming bayonets
leaning in tidy cones like
old-time sheaves of wheat
for weaponless soldiers to pass by
on their way to other lives.
Officers’ swords were surrendered,
broken over a knee,
taken as souvenirs
or gallantly returned
on condition that they
never draw blood again.
But how, oh how, can we stack—
cruise missiles, smart bombs, drones,
land mines, gasses, biological agents,
not to mention all of the
great fleets, bombers, fighters,
and those barely acknowledged nukes.
Do we fail to stack them aside
simply because it would be untidy?