Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Saying "happy Memorial Day" doesn't really sound appropriate, given the intent of the holiday itself. In an attempt to fulfill the spirit of the day, last night we watched the first part of the (very long) movie Gettysburg with the kids and explained to them how this battle led to today's holiday.

The movie itself was interesting. It has so far focused a lot on the lead up to the battle and a climax of the fighting on day two, focused on one particular unit. It generally followed the historical battle up to this point and then it diverged, which, I don't really get because the historical battle has so many stories equal or greater in valor ('valour' for Neuf). Jeff Daniel's character is outstanding with excellent dialog ('dialogue', senor Neuf) and acting. There were several thought provoking and memorable lines from it. Here is my favorite ('favourite', again for Neuf):

"Many of us volunteered to fight for the Union. Some came mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many came because it was the right thing to do.
This is a different kind of army. If you look at history you'll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we're here for something new. This hasn't happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free. America should be free ground, from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow, no man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here you can build a home. But it's not the land. There's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me. What we're fighting for, in the end, is each other. Sorry. Didn't mean to preach." (Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain - played by Jeff Daniels)