The Memorial Day Blues

The weather forecast is sketchy here in New England this weekend and some of my Facebook friends are not happy.

“The weather forecast is depressing.”

“I’m seriously struggling with wardrobe decisions for Saturday and Sunday.”


I have mixed emotions about Memorial Day.  It’s a day to remember those who have died in military service.  What does it mean to remember?  Are clear skies and appropriate footwear necessary to salute the dead?

What of war?

Last night, I saw one of my favorite gardeners at the annual meeting of the Hampton Victory Garden.  We were brainstorming different ideas and suggestions.  A newer gardener said “Why don’t we get some chickens?”

My favorite gardener perked up.  He outlined the pros and cons of having a few chickens in the garden.  Someone said “Wow, Dick, you know a lot about chickens.”

Dick said “I used to be a chicken farmer.”

He then told us a story he had told me when I first met him.

In 1950, my favorite gardener had about 2,000 chickens.  He was looking forward to the peaceful life of a chicken farmer until the day he got a letter from the 33rd President of the United States, Harry Truman.  My favorite gardener was drafted into military service and requested to pack his bags and go to Korea.  He had to sell his chickens and his chicken farm to go to war.  When he got back, he did other things with his life, but the particular passion with which he told this story made me sad.  I think it made him sad, too, among other emotions.

Over the last ten Memorial Days, I’ve thought about war.  I think about war every day and even though I know that there is no cure for death, a world with fewer military deaths to remember would be a better world.

We might just have a few more chicken farmers, too.

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