Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and this is what I think...

I wrote an email this morning and, near the end, I remembered that today was a holiday, so, as all cultured persons are trained to do, I threw in a "Happy Memorial Day!" As soon I finished typing it, I realized how stupid it was.

Memorial Day was designed to honor those who died in war. Happy? Are you kidding me? I think we should say "Sad Memorial Day," or, at the very least, "Somber Memorial Day." It reminds of a commentary delivered by Laurie Anderson that I once saw on youtube, in which she expounds upon the profundity of our national anthem. She points out that the entire song is just a man, watching a battle, asking "hey, can you see anything through the smoke and dim light of the morning? I think I see a flag, but there is an awful lot of commotion." Seriously?

I love the endless renditions of our national anthem offered by celebrities and wannabes at all sorts of sporting events and ceremonies, so I certainly do not want it to be changed (as many have suggested in the past, and I am sure some are continuin to whine about), but it IS rather ridiculous that this simple poem about war was turned into our national anthem.

And what is that really saying about the US? "We love war and destruction! The red glare of rockets is so beautiful. . .as long as our flag is still standing at the end. We are so brave." Vomit.

Seriously, though - I do love hearing the song be performed, so please do not change it if you ever find yourself with the power to do so.

And Happy Memorial Day!


  1. I think one of the reasons the national anthem has remained so popular and is a gig pursued by some of the world's most accomplished singers is because of the wide range of notes it contains. Not just anyone can sing the song successfully (just ask Roseanne). I'll admit, I -- and I'd assume many other people -- don't often think about the lyrics. But as for the notes, it reminds me of a line from Belize in "Angels in America":

    "The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing when he set the word 'free' to a note so high, nobody could reach it. That was deliberate." Not sure if that pertains directly to your post but it was racing through my mind as I was reading it. Welcome to Blogger, Brandon. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  2. Of course you are right that one of the best things about the anthem is that it is very difficult to sing.