Memorial Day reading: ‘A Dictionary for Memorial Day’

Among the presentations featured during Monday’s Memorial Day event at Kellogg Community College was a reading of the text below, reprinted here with permission.

The piece is titled, “A Dictionary for Memorial Day,” and it was co-written by Heather Trammel, Bob Psalmonds, Dennis Van Dyke and Elizabeth Kerlikowske. T.J. Mohl joined the group in reading the text aloud.


Voice 1: The band played a familiar tune, the Stars and Stripes forever. The soldiers stand at the ready, their rifles on their shoulders. Men dressed in green and brown and blue, mere boys really, going to make a stand.

Voice 2: “Forward march,” barks the captain.

Voice 3: “Hut hut hut,” the sergeant counts the cadence.

Voice 4: The general salutes the forward column as the flag waves in the gusty wind while the women and children cheer.

Heather and EK: “Where are you going?” they ask.

Male voices: “To war,” they say. “To war.”

All: Hooah

Voice 1: War is the volatile combustion of feelings and ownership time and again.

Voice 2: Mess is the attempt to make dehydrated or preservative-filled food taste like a gourmet meal.

Voice 3: The flag is a symbol of enduring strength and dedication — to honor those who have fought and died to defend and preserve our freedom.

Voice 4: The flag is a symbol dear to my heart.

All: Hooah

Voice 5: Combat is a way of finding out that other people are made of the same stuff as you, and we all break easily.

Voice 1: America is the great experiment of mankind’s higher aspiration to live free from the enslavement of tyranny.

Voice 2: America is a dream yet to be fully realized.

Voice 4: America is an ideal that soldiers have paid for with their lives.

All: Hooah

Voice 3: A soldier is a person in uniform who fights for the ideal of justice and liberty.

Voice 5: A rebel is someone who does not like being told what to do; our country was founded by rebels.

Voice 1: A patriot is a person who stand up for the vision of our founding fathers while willingly enduring the continuous need of our millions of citizens for expressing individuality.

All: Hooah

Voice 2: Loss considers the value of one life, then multiplies it time one thousand and divides it by families who bury it with full military honors.

Voice 5: Gold star mothers have broken hearts stitched together with memories.

Voice 4: Peace is a dream.

Voice 1: Peace is not the absence of war; peace is defined in the hearts of each individual.

All: Hooah

Voice 3: The soldier’s peace is the imaginary goal of trained individuals denied tranquility in their own lives.

Voice 2: Victory is the illusion that having won the upper hand means your casualties were worth the effort.

Voice 4: The ultimate sacrifice is something no one should have to make, and we must honor those who have made it.

All: Hooah

Click here for more information about Monday’s Memorial Day event from a post on this blog.