A new blog I found a while back posted about their birthday and a mix they had created of "Cake" tunes. Stick (I will call him that because his blog name is too convoluted for me to remember) Anyway Stick mentioned Cake's cover of "War Pigs" and how he had liked it, but did not include it in his mix. The mix was I guess for him and his son L, who's birthday fell on the day before his. Okay fine, G rated for the wee ones. I can dig that.
This will make some sense to you and maybe me in a moment or two. And connections to the point of this post will be made clear.
So Stick mentions "War Pigs". It fires up a memory of a post of mine from last year and I go searching the blog archive. I find my post. Titling it "War Pigs" did make it easier to find among the 600 plus posts in this over filled bag of words. In short, in case and most likely because you do not want to visit that post, in a nutshell it was a stroll down memory lane and comments in general about the tune "War Pigs" and other related and semi related garbage. The usual drivel.
Of course I could not re-visit an old post that had not one but at least two links to music videos without running through them one more time. I watched the Cake version of "War Pigs". Yes, I was right. It is a very good cover and the video was appropriate given the lyrics. Then I punched up Black Sabbath's studio version with more up to date war film attached. Proof the tune will stand the test of time and go down as a wonderful condemnation of War and those who wage it. The final scenes in the video were of funerals, soldiers and Arlington Cemetery.
Though I spent good portion of my youth at different times living and existing in and around the DC area, I have only visited Arlington Cemetery twice in my life. I once almost died at what many consider it's entrance when the car we were in did not stop after coming off the Arlington Memorial Bridge. My friend was driving his brand new GTO and wanted to see how fast he could go before we hit the end of the bridge. Up onto the circle, throwing grass and making ruts, we somehow escaped death, the cops and our own stupidity. But that is another tale.
I have been to Arlington twice. Both times to bury loved ones. First my father in 1981 with full honors. Ten years later I put my mom to rest next to him. As a general officer he and his surviving spouse were entitled to this honor.
I have mixed feelings about this. My father did not want to be interred anywhere. He said on numerous occasions he wanted his lifeless body donated to some medical school somewhere. But as it was not stipulated in his will, my mom did what she felt would get her through this I guess. Placing his remains in Arlington was one way to find some closure for her. And she insisted we put her next to the man she fought with for my whole lifetime when the time came. Hmm. I always wondered if this was just so she could continue to irritate him in the afterlife.
I have been to more than a few memorials, funerals and wakes. A military funeral is like no other. There is no celebration. No emotional hysteria. Quiet tears of friends and family while soldiers high and tight stand at attention and fire their rifles. Somber patriotism with respectful but no bullshit "get er done" competency. The words spoken are brief and to the point. Flags are removed from caskets, folded with precision and handed to grieving widows. For some reason, I witnessed this and pride for my father and my country spilled forth. Tears ran down my face in streams. Quiet streams. Falling apart emotionally would be disrespectful to the military and the man we were honoring. I could feel my back straighten up some when the rifles were shouldered to fire the first salvo. I could feel some great weight leave me as the sound of those final shots died over the Potomac. I was sure that the man I knew who wrestled with demons every day of his life was now put to rest with the honor he deserved by the country he loved.