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Memorial Day: The Musicians, The Artists & The Poets

by vaughn skow August 30, 2013 3 min read

American Flag Fender Stratocaster Strat

Howdy friends!

As I write today’s blog, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is just beginning. Here in the southeastern United States high temperatures are running nearly 100°F, and so it almost feels more like the Fourth of July! My little rock ‘n roll band is gearing up for an outdoor show in an airplane hangar. It’s going to be hot. But man oh man is it going to be awesome!

I love holidays, and I love the United States of America. I know many of you reading these blogs are not Americans. Whoever you are and wherever you are, my wish for you is that you have received all of the amazing opportunities that I have received. The American way of life is truly fantastic. From my childhood years growing up on a farm, to my years as a young man playing in rock ‘n roll and country bands, to my current life as a Nashville music guy; it cannot be said that I have left the opportunities afforded by the American system of freedom slip through my fingers. I have milked freedom for all it’s worth, and the rewards have been great. Again I say, wherever it is that you are reading this from, I truly hope that you have had the freedom to be all that you can be.

Please forgive me if I’m sounding a little bit overly romantic towards the American way of life, on national holidays it’s easy to feel that way.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am well aware of the historical failures both of America as a country as well as some of America’s citizens individually. We are after all a country of… Well… People, and people can be unpredictable. Some are good, some are bad, and some fall in the middle.  In fact, the Memorial Day holiday officially began on May 5 of 1868, right on the heels of one of America’s darkest moments: the American Civil War. Personally, I sure am glad that those on the side of freedom for ALL MEN were the victors in that little disagreement. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was set aside as a day of remembrance for those who died in the nation’s service. That’s important, and it’s usually forgotten these days. The Civil War is now a century and a half behind us. World War I is now a century in the rearview mirror. And even in the case of World War II, there are very few people alive today who can personally remember it.

We must remember.

The classic line is “those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. This has been proven time and time again. Let’s not make that mistake. Whether in America, or any country on earth, we can all leave this planet a little bit better than we found it by simply learning from the mistakes, the successes, and the sacrifices of those who came before us. Around the world tensions are growing between groups with differing beliefs and points of view. Whenever these tensions break out into outright hostilities, innocent people suffer and die. No matter what God you believe in, or even if you believe in no God at all, if you are a good and decent human being you will want to do all you can to prevent this from happening.

We’re just a bunch of guitar players, singers, and songwriters; what can we do? We can play guitar, sing, and write songs. History tells us that the musicians, the artists, and the poets often are the ones to administer a soothing balm of reconciliation and healing to conflicts that can seem hopeless. Personally, if posterity remembers me at all, I hope it remembers me as a peacemaker; I hope it remembers my love, my kindness and my forgiveness. I can’t imagine the horror of living through times like either of the big world wars or the American Civil War. If ever put in such a situation, I’d like to think that I would do the right thing, regardless of the outcome for me personally. And this Memorial Day I remember those who did the right thing, and it cost them everything.

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