PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MEMORIAL DAY, 2014) — THE PLANET immensely enjoys one of the year’s great, sweet, unpretentious treats: the Stockbridge Memorial Day Parade. Now this is what a hometown parade should be: Simple, eye-to-eye, breathable, and full of more warmth, good will, charm, and innocence than a Norman Rockwell painting about baseball.

With MRS. PLANET and our weekend guests,  we venture downtown. We pass a young boy selling lemonade and popcorn from a sidewalk stand, doing good business because few can resist the cuteness of a baseball cap askew, not out of some sick, trickled-down street-gang message but out of Leave It to Beaver innocence. In Pittsfield, the kid would have been busted, cuffed, and carted off for vending without a license.

Friends, Foods, and Festivity

Downtown, about 10 minutes before showtime, we run into many dear friends but not one piece of litter. The parade takes about 10 minutes, including the pause at the Civil War Monument on Pine Street and Prospect Hill Road for a prayer and a stirring rendition of Taps. It finishes at the Clock Tower, in front of the old town hall, where Stockbridge feeds all who want to eat. There’s not one pitch for donations. After the parade, there still won’t be one piece of litter.

——- 000 ——-

On this Memorial Day, THE PLANET eschews politics, empty suits, broken promises, and all the public frustrations and hopes of the community, and communities everywhere, to pay our tribute to veterans, particularly those who paid the ultimate price; to their families, friends, and loved ones; to the hundreds of millions who perished or have been affected by the insanity of war; and to the fathomless dream that one day there may be peace on this good earth.

“Future years will never know the seething hell and the black[,] infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books.”

For once, America’s greatest poet got it wrong. Walt Whitman. Future years have known only too well “the seething hell and the black[,] infernal background.” He was right, though, about “real war. It never makes the books. It lives inside of the hearts, minds, and souls of every mute witness.

Dear readers, enjoy this day. Keep in mind that with the joy should come a reverence, at least in the heart, for the sacrifices made — futile or not.


“The cost of liberty is less than the cost of repression.” — W. E. B Dubois




  1. Ron Kitterman
    May 26, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    In totally agreement with your Memorial Day appraisal, in honor or those who gave the last full measure of devotion and sacrifice to our country.

  2. Johnny2Shoes
    May 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    I wish each day was a special day for vets being remembered ! All to often the real heroes of our country are forgotten the other 364 days of the year. The pols get their photo op’s, in, rally them for harms way and then use them to get their votes. Then treat them like crud! I heard someone put forth the vets should get the same healthcare as the pols in Washington. I’m all for that. God Bless all who have served to insure we have America The Beautiful!!!

    • dusty
      May 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      Not to be a downer but I truly hope there is a special place in hell for the men who start needless wars. We would not need to thank the veterans nearly as much if it were not for these psychopaths.

  3. Jamie
    May 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    My hat’s off to all our veterans. I’m only sorry that they have a veterans affairs office in Pitttfield that doesn’t know what its doing and doesn’t care a lick about helping vets.

    Its just a job for those two, full time job for parttime work. Get rid of them and get someone who cares about helping out vets.

  4. Scott
    May 26, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    People who serve are special because a lot put thier own beliefs on the back burner and follow the orders of tyrants.

    Thanks to all who serve.

    • ed shepardson
      May 27, 2014 at 5:22 am #

      How about those who have refused to follow the orders of tyrants?

      • Scott
        May 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

        Even better Ed.

  5. Pat
    May 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    I was surprised that Soldier On doesn’t even have air conditioning for their vets during the hot summer months. I think it would be great to make sure the vets who have given so much to our country can enjoy some relief from the heat during the hottest days of summer. This should be a priority. How about it Veterans Affairs Office?

  6. Hurdygurdy Man
    May 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    We took time out today for remembrance. My dad fought in World War II. He was as he used to say one of the “lucky ones who came home.” He said he wasn’t the same after that experience. Who could be? Thanks to all our veterans. We owe you everything.

  7. outfox
    May 27, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    The parade in Williamstown lasted all of about 6 minutes, with a few soggy spectators, yet when the parade ended at Field Park where the remembrance ceremony takes place, all of a sudden seemingly the whole town was there. There is something inexorably sweet about these little hometown parades. One year while trying to cross lower Michigan by car on the Fourth of July on the two lanes as opposed to the interstate, our trip was prolonged by having to stop and wait for each little hometown parade to pass through before we could continue on. Truly serendipity, and the pride of place, and patriotism we witnessed repeatedly is, well, as American as apple pie,