I have always loved Memorial Day. Especially during high school. For four years that meant marching in the town parade. My freshman year I played piccolo. Sophomore through Senior years it was as drum major. I loved marching in front of the band, calling or whistling orders, and conducting the music.
The parades always ended in cemeteries where a trumpet player from the marching band would play Taps in honor of those from the US military who have died in war.
I have something to admit that I'm not proud of.
I have no memories of the cemeteries. Of hearing Taps. Of ensuring that our high school band was a respectful presence for such a solemn occasion.
I partly blame the general folly and silliness of youth. But I was also young during a relatively peaceful time. While I grew up under the cloud of nuclear armament and USSR as the constant enemy to be kept in check, I don't recall knowing a single person my age who joined the military. The horrific consequences of war were in the flat photos in out-of-date textbooks or in the hunched shoulders of old men leaning on canes standing next to graves with flags. They weren't in real people I knew.
Now I have children who have only been alive during war. I see young adults who should be starting their lives instead begging outside the homeless veterans shelter. My friend's godson died in Iraq when he had been there barely a month.
So really the only song I can play this week is Taps. Because I can't remember hearing it when I stood in the cemetery. And I need to remember it now.
Share a song, even if it isn't related to Memorial Day.