Memorial Day lockdown is upon us and since it is indeed a Memorial Day lockdown, I’ve decide to repost a previous blog entry. This holiday won’t be like previous ones (at all!) but I think the sentiments expressed below have not changed…..
Memorial Day weekend is upon us and to most folks it means backyard BBQs, big box sales events, picnics and the traditional start of the summer. It also means something else. It means honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. That sacrifice was not only made on the battlefield. I have come to learn while working on Lee Marvin Point Blank that every single person who ever saw combat was wounded in one way or another and the result was a traumatized existence. Whether it was Agent Orange, PTSD, alcoholism, or rampant suicide, clearly, not all wounds were the result of combat. One example is Lee Marvin, who died at the premature age of 63.
Thanks to the extreme sacrifice of others, I was lucky enough to never have had that experience. Of course, that raised the question of how could I write about it, as it was a defining factor in Lee Marvin’s life? Gratefully, his letters from the war were discovered by yours truly, and after putting them in chronological order and deciphering their content, I was able to let Lee Marvin write that chapter in his own words…As it should be.
Lee Marvin’s headstone at Arlington as memorialized by members of the BSOL.
Several members of the BSOL (Bastard Sons of Lee) visited his grave site at Arlington a few years back and decided to leave the appropriate tribute seen here…..
So, this Memorial Day weekend, as it should be every Memorial Day weekend, take some time to remember the real reason for the day. Reading a good book on a the subject may be a good way to commemorate. I can recommend one: *wink, wink*
And more importantly, despite the lock down….give thanks.
– Dwayne Epstein
Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia may be the most appropriate place to honor Memorial Day this weekend. For some reason, it seems to me that in recent years, some folks have either confused or deliberately forgotten the true meaning of the day. I’ve know some veterans who have been justifiably irate when someone thanks them for their service on Memorial Day. That, of course is the function of Veteran’s Day. Truth be told, it should be the function of every day but that’s another matter. For Memorial Day, we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, or are no longer with us but their memory sustains us. For that purpose, Arlington — established just before the end of the Civil War — is the quintessential ground in which the grateful citizenry pay its respects.
USMC Private First Class Lee Marvin toward the end of his duty in the Pacific during WWII.
Lee Marvin Point Blank readers know that he is interred there but the criteria for his inclusion is barely met, believe it or not. It’s not simply a matter of his active service but the fact that he received a Purple Heart that allowed him entry. However, his celebrity status resulted in a very special placement in a section reserved for dignitaries, officers and heads of state. For Marvin, who was actually cremated (known as inurnment as opposed to interment) his remains are near the final resting place of heavyweight boxing champion and WWII veteran, Joe Louis. His headstone smaller, Marvin’s placement is nonetheless well earned.
Lee Marvin’s headstone next to that of boxing champion, Joe Louis.
Not able to make it Arlington National Cemetery this weekend? Totally understandable. There are other ways to honor our fallen that has nothing to do with the unofficial start of summer, such as big box sales or backyard BBQs. My publisher has informed me recently that Kobo has chosen my e-book version for their Memorial Day Sale for which I am of course honored to discover. So, if you can’t make it to Arlington but want to pay your respects to a true American hero this weekend, feel free to read and discover what makes Lee Marvin an eligible member of that honored and elite group. And may your Memorial Day be a safe and honorable one.