It’s Memorial Day weekend, formerly called Decoration Day, because of the still-observed custom of decorating graves, especially of those who served in the armed forces, with flowers and American flags. Died in battle — or at any rate, once struggled in battle to preserve their nation — Still honored — Still remembered —
A holiday for remembering, then, a day of celebration —
Just what do we celebrate when we remember? And in what spirit do we celebrate? The mysteries of life, and death, of time passing? Not exactly a new question. Lu Yu, the Chinese poet of the 9th century, was already pondering it. I like his answer best of all, and so, on Memorial Day, I remember it:
The clouds above us join and separate.
The breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns.
Life is like that, so why not relax?
Who can stop us from celebrating?
Joy, sorrow, birth, death, the panorama of life from morning until evening —
Who can stop us from celebrating? Only ourselves.