I guess I post this one every year for Memorial Day. Honor to the dead. We were not worthy of them.
As advertised, I was at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Saturday morning, helping to dedicate a memorial to the men of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate), a World War II commando unit organized and trained for an invasion of Norway. Most of its members were either Norwegian merchant sailors stranded by the Occupation, or Norwegian-American boys. Requirements were Norwegian heritage, ability to speak the language, and the ability to ski.
Although the invasion never happened as such, they participated in commando actions (some of them became part of the legendary OSS), and participated in the battle for Europe. The man in the grave above died in 1944, probably in Belgium, where the unit saw fierce fighting.
I was asked to read an invocation for the ceremony, and then I helped place battalion flags on the graves of all the 99th members buried in the cemetery. A couple of my Viking friends came too, and I thank them. It was a moving occasion. No 99th veterans were present, but a couple of their widows were there, along with some descendants.
When it comes to Memorial Day, I always seem to perambulate back to “The Mansions of the Lord,” because it just gets me right here. This version includes a lot of Ronald Reagan, so if you don’t care for that, there are other blogs in the web. Have a good day.
I want to post a photo from Saturday at Fort Snelling, but that will have to wait because the picture file is taking forever to appear in Dropbox.
I just finished a big translation job, and I have another smaller one I need to get at today. And that’s good. Because I’m a hard-working man with a vibrant life, not a fat old bachelor with odd hobbies, as I might appear to some.
To all survivors of fallen heroes, may the Lord be with you, today and every day.
Oneself shall likewise die;
But the glory of a name
Shall never die
In honoured posterity.”
(From the Icelandic poem “Voluspaa,” as translated by me in Viking Legacy.)
On Memorial Day, it is customary to remind people, in the midst of their barbecuing, to take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by soldiers in many wars, so that we might enjoy our freedom.
I think it would be more appropriate, this year, to take the ashes from our barbecues, strew them on our heads, dress in sackcloth, fall to our knees, and beg forgiveness for the uses to which we’ve put that freedom.
The living must speak for the fallen.