I have a certain ambivalence about Memorial Day, I’ve not been able to honor just the American dead after a number of years in the UK. I can’t imagine the internal conflict of those who first purposed Memorial Day, and admire even more their ability to state that it was to include both Union and Confederate dead.  We would do well to remember that. In some ways, it is a pity that Memorial Day has not remained as a memorial to the Civil War, it just might be good for us.  Time moves on, though, and memorials tend to shift to the concerns of the living, as well they ought.

But when the twentieth century rolls around, limiting Memorial Day to American dead makes me uneasy.

So for the fallen, whomever and wherever, who died so that others might live more freely.

The original poem for taps, written by Major General Daniel Butterfield, Army of the Potomac:

“Day is done…
Gone the sun
From the lake…
From the hills…
From the sky.
All is well…
Safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light….
Dims the sight
And a star….
Gems the sky….
Gleaming bright
From afar….
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.”