In my life there has been little opportunity to celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend in the grandest style. I do often watch the big concerts and pyrotechnic displays on television. This Memorial Day I am aware of both the Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana National Guard fighting against the great flood of 2011 in the Mississppi Valley. So far it has been a battle which has gone very well in South Louisiana. The dangers have not yet passed, we have not reached the forecast crest anywhere in the State of Louisiana that I know of in any sense that is irreversible and there is no place where the post flood repairs and maintenance can go on without the enormous risk of the vast quantities of water.
So far it is good to have the sediment flowing into swamps and marshes and although it is not perfectly directed and slaty oyster bed are being hit yet again there are many things to be glad about. Sunday, God willing, my mother and I will be driving to New Orleans to see my nephew and two nieces perform in a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing directed by my sister and featuring members of a homeschooling acting troupe she directs. I will be glad to be there and be with them and will also be hoping that all the military assurances of safety for the city will include the residence of my loved ones in Metarie and the Actors Theater of New Orleans. The struggles of recent years starting with Hurricane Lilly (which produced a small but real economic boom for me despite hiiting my hometown), through Katrina and Rita, Gustave and Ike, the BP Oil Spil and now this flood have all taken place in the context of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now the (largely undeployed) war in Libya. My cousin Sev, whom I did not know all that well but of whom I have real and distinct positive memories, was killed in Afghanistan. After Rita sometmes I and my companions were coming back into areas before other returners and saw the military and in a minimal way assisted them with clearing roads.
All of these facts and experiences will color my Memorial Day Weekend. I am kind of reeling right now from things on my mind I cannot really discuss here but even they relate to Memorial Day sentiments. Normally, if I write about Memorial Day I write about the history. But this year, fairly or not, I write of empathy and fellow feeling with my fellow Louisiana citizens who are also US citizens and unlike me serve our Union in arms and uniform. I think I can relate to how long and weary a decade this has been since 9/11. Yes, there have been good times. But we had already seen an uptick in coastal and othe problems and were already stressed and the blows have kept on coming. But the military has been part of this struggle which has really been a struggle for survival although in that sense it has not yet been a close one for the whole state. This weekend we are once more in danger. Once more they are fighting the danger.