Memorial Day

May 27th, 2003  |  Published in Uncategorized

I can’t spend a Memorial Day without thinking of the year I pulled in Korea. The camp at which I was stationed was settled near Hill 303, site of a grisly war crime involving the mass execution of 26 soldiers at the hands of their N. Korean captors during the Korean War:

“The boys lay packed tightly, shoulder to shoulder, lying on their sides, curled like babies sleeping in the sun. Their feet, bloodied and bare, from walking on the rocks, stuck out stiffly … All had hands tied behind their backs, some with cord, others with regular issue army communication wire. Only a few of the hands were clenched.”

Soldiers assigned to my unit at Camp Carroll heard the story at least once a year, on Memorial Day when the chaplain led the company up the hill for a memorial service.

We haven’t had a president, since I’ve been keeping track of these things, from whom Memorial Day platitudes have seemed anything other than distasteful. Soldiers live and die for each other, and sometimes ideals. When it comes time for our country to take a day to remember the dead, it seems best to keep the politicians out of it. It’s a day that deserves to be left alone, free of political posturing.

That said,

David Permutter’s essay “Why I’m Not A Patriot” seems a fitting Memorial Day sentiment. There are a lot of readings we can apply to the piece, but mine renders it a fitting tribute to the men on Hill 303.

Comments are closed.

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.