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Monday, May 26, 2014
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This photo shoot turned out to become an accidental tribute to Memorial Day, to remembering those who served and died in the wars that our nation has been involved in. There is a little park with a monument on a mini-hilltop in Passaic NJ that I have passed innumerable times since I was a baby, but never stopped to appreciate. So I decided to use the holiday to make a photo run to this little park. Well, it turned out that the monument is a veterans monument, and a parade and celebration event were underway. So I mingled around a bit and am sharing a few of the shots I took.

The monument appears to be focused on World War 2, but the designers allowed room around the top band for the inscription of future wars. Ironically, it came to good use; Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf (they haven’t yet updated it for Afghanistan). Let’s pray that it won’t need to be updated after that.


P.S., I had two uncles who were among the 3,500 men from Passaic who served in WW2; luckily neither of them wound up amidst the 75 who made the Supreme Sacrifice.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:11 pm      

  1. Jim, Nice pictures. Some tho’ts that occur to me about Memorial Day:

    I notice in reading the inscription in the last picture that it was “dedicated to the soldiers and sailors”, leaving out Marines, Coast Guard, etc. But I’m probably being picky.

    My husband and his 5 brothers all served in WWII, all but one overseas; four of them in combat. My husband’s brother lived with us for 20 years, probably suffering from a serious case of PTSD, which was not named that then. This brother-in-law of mine had been in the Battle of the Bulge, and served in combat in other areas of Europe. Then, when the European war was over, he was immediately sent to the Philippines to become a part of the invasion of Japan, but Japan surrendered before he ended up there. My husband too was waiting to be a part of the invasion of Japan, but survived it when Japan surrendered.

    I recently read Phil Klay’s “Redeployment”: I came away with the conviction that men should not be subjected to war; it’s inhumane. Furthermore, I left out of that last sentence all the innocent people who suffer in wars, being displaced, wounded, or killed.

    Then soon after reading that book I read an article about a Syrian nun who has been working for years for peace in Syria. (And here I paraphrase and perhaps add some of my own ideas; nevertheless, what follows is very close to what she says): She maintains something that I have long tho’t: That all the weapons and accoutrements of war should simply be disposed of, taken away from all military, and not be allowed for war. My tho’t is that taking oil (and therefore, gas) away from the military would serve the same function. Talk it out but don’t fight it out. I’ve often tho’t that if the leaders of countries had to actually put their own lives in danger, they would rethink very quickly the idea of going to war over anything.

    I’ve known several students of mine when I was teaching who had been in the military. Without exception these men (in those days women were not allowed in the military except for the separate services they were assigned to), especially those who had been in combat, suffered serious and lasting psychological wounds.

    There’s a bit of the idea of a “celebration” when it comes to Memorial Day. This year was the first time I heard anything about the suffering of the “wounded warriors”. It occurs to me that Memorial Day should be a day of grief, grief for those on both sides of any war, including all the military and the innocent victims who are caught in the middle.

    I find myself wondering if human beings will ever come to the conclusion that war is not a good way to solve problems and/or gain power by the few who seem to want it. In this case read Putin in Ukraine; however, he’s not alone in that aspect of things when it comes to war. And here I think of WWII and what to do in a case such as Hitler’s where he invaded countries and killed millions of Jews. I find myself honestly wondering what would have happened if Hitler had been met with a nonviolent response, such as that used by Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Would that response have been as effective as the war that occurred? Or would it have been ineffective in such a case? (Same with Japan in WWII.) I don’t know the answer; and hopefully, we will never have to find out the answer to those questions in the future.

    As I said, this is no criticism of your pictures or even of your desire to capture pictures of Memorial Day; but it is some of my random tho’ts about Memorial Day in general. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — May 27, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  2. I think the inscription inside the monument is referring to WWI and not WWII because WWII is marked outside along with the Korean War and Vietnam War.

    Comment by KETAL — September 2, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

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