MEMORIAL DAY PLAYS OUT AGAINST ‘THE SEETHING HELL AND THE BLACK, INFERNAL BACKGROUND,’ BUT ALWAYS, THE HOPE FOR PEACE
By DAN VALENTI
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.
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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
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.