Monday, May 25, 2009

The Stone

From “The Stone
(by R.P.Edwards)

At last I learn
What I’ve been told
That “treasure” lives
But not in gold
So to the stone
I come to see
And hear the words
“Remember me!”

The journey of the song began nearly twenty years ago. A recent arrival to “flyover country” my young family (just four of us then) joined a church that would, a couple times a year, rent a “memorial hall” for the purpose of holiday gatherings. On one such occasion (perhaps the first) I noticed the plaques, the inscriptions…and the stones. I don’t know what steered me, ever so slightly, away from my obsession with “self,” --perhaps the benefit of age, or some lesson my “Pop” had dropped into my subconscious decades earlier-- whatever the reason, I began to be somewhat appreciative that these names, these many, many names…represented young men whose lives were cut short…deprived of family, fortune, heritage…that I, bloated from a Thanksgiving plate, could carry on. I remember, vaguely, trying to convey some of this sentiment to my two young men. How much they heard…I know not.

Fast forward a few years. The fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II was quickly approaching. I picked up my Appalachian instrument (autoharp) and composed a song that expressed my diluted sentiment (diluted, because my motives are not always “pure”). Well, nothing came of it (perhaps nothing was supposed to) and now, fourteen years later, with the aid of a technology not easily accessible at that time, “The Stone” is born anew. If you haven’t viewed it yet…now would be a good time.

This entry will be posted on Memorial Day . I probably won’t watch the parade…but I will remember them. I, most likely, won’t attend the ceremonies…but I will remember them. I won’t be terribly caught up with the “feelings” of the moment…but I will remember them. Instead of pausing this one brief season, I will, as God enables, stand daily--in their stead-- for their “values.” No, not the manufactured and massaged values of Academia, or Hollywood, or a wayward Judiciary. But the values of the Marine who, clutching his pierced chest, knelt into the black sands of Iwo Jima and then stood up to take the hand of his Lord. The values of the sailors whose lifeless bodies sank beneath the waves at the Battle of Coral Sea. Their bodies succumbed to the depths, but their spirits rose unhindered. The values of the thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands who knew that courage began at an alter with a bowed head and a resolute heart. Yes, it “is” time to remember them. But more than that…it is time…to “be” them.

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