Cover Photo by Mark R. Day

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Speech: Address given Memorial Day May 25th 2015 in Red Hook, New York

Mayor Blondell, Commander Moore, my fellow veterans, friends, and citizens of Red Hook
Good morning.  My thanks to Post 7765 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for their invitation to speak today.  I have never felt more honored by anything before and I will remember this moment all of my life. 

Paraphrased extemporaneous comments I made in response to the size of the crowd: I am overwhelmed by the sight of so many people here in this park.  Truly the people of Red Hook are proving their commitment to remembering their veterans.  I live in Bedford, Virginia the home of the National D-Day Memorial and as we join here this morning people are also gathering there, but my heart tells me that the crowd here in this small park in this small village, in the Mid-Hudson Valley is as large as or even larger than that which will gather this morning in Bedford and you should be proud of yourselves for your outstanding commitment to our honored dead.

We are gathered here in a solemn ceremony of remembrance for those men from Red Hook who in the words of Abraham Lincoln “gave the last full measure of devotion” to their country.  Their names appear before us cut into the two granite stones, which lie before us in this Memorial Garden.

In a few minutes we will call the roll of these our hometown hero’s, flags will be place, taps will be played and rifle salutes will roll like thunder over this ground.  For some this will bring a close to Memorial Day and signal other celebrations of the day.  However, for others this will only be the beginning of their conversations about their Great Grandfathers, Grandfathers, Fathers, Brothers, Sons, and yes Daughters who served this country, and are still serving it today in faraway places.

As a child growing up in Red Hook Memorial Day was a time of excitement and parades.  Yet, I still remember the hush which accompanied the roll call of the names of the honored dead, and the chill, which the playing of taps sent up and down the spine.  Oh and yes I recall that startled flinch when the rifles were fired.

All of this made me aware that something important was taking place, but I did not fully understand.  I suspect many in this crowd have experienced similar feelings and may also understand that Memorial Day is special, but not really and truly know why.

In America today only 1% of the population will serve in the military.  Gone are the days when the majority of men in this community saw active service and experienced the sense of duty to country and comrades, which creates the bond of remembrance.  It is harder now for most individuals to see this as more than a simple ceremony, which is repeated every year out of tradition, but that is not so for those of us who served in peacetime or wartime.  We have a duty to ensure our brothers are never forgotten.  For us Memorial Day is an act of reverence and an opportunity to educate our future generations about loyalty, brotherhood, and the value of devotion to our principles.

Let me close with a few questions, which I ask you to think about as you leave today’s ceremony.

                         If we will not remember these men who sacrificed all, who will?
                         If we do not teach our children the meaning of devotion and self-sacrifice, who will?
                         If we do not hold this day precious and sacred, then what do we stand for?

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity speak.  May God bless these our fallen heroes, may the grace of God be with all who served, and may God grant each of us the knowledge and strength to pass on this story of remembrance for the fallen.

Written and presented by Mark R. Day 5-25-15, copyright by Mark R. Day, 5-25-15, all rights reserved.

Note: I was asked to be the speaker for the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in my hometown of Red Hook, New York.  I was directed that the address be short and that it reflect the significance of the day.  This version of the address is the third and final draft.  It was written while sitting at the kitchen table of my sisters house, number 3 Graves St., between 7:45 and 8:30 am on the 25th of May.  The first person to hear the address was my sister Cindy.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Prayer: Senior Day Offering 5-17-15

Lord we present these offerings and gifts to you in then knowledge that, they will be used as a blessing which promotes the work of building your kingdom here on Earth and we fervently pray, that you will look upon our offering, our prayers, and our service as expressions of our love and devotion as disciples of Christ. 

Lord we pray, that as our prayers ascend to you this morning, you love will abide with us forever through your son Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.


written by Mark R. Day, copyrighted by Mark R. Day 5/17-15, all rights reserved

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Poem: "Twilight"

Twilight, the soft embrace of the ending day
tenderly releases both earth and sky
slowly immersing the world in blissful rest.

Rights of Passage

Silent, scared, and stupefied they stare with dumbfounded gaze upon the alphabetical characters, which comprise the humorless lines of text; that will decide their fate

Eyes roll within their sockets; presenting varied glimpses of apprehension, angst, and abhorrence punctuated with deep sighs and the telltale slumped shoulders of depression.

Thus passes the moments leading to the appointed hour of decision.  Not unlike the condemned man they wait to receive pardon or punishment from the state.

All experience a sense of doom as the clock moves forward in an unrelenting pace.  For some the call will come and relief will fill their hearts, but alas some shall gain no reprieve.   

Written by Mark R. Day, 4/24/15,  Copyright by Mark R. Day 4/24/15, all rights reserved.

Comments on the experience of taking the SOL

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Speech: Remarks given on Sunday April 12, 2015 at the Inn at the Meander Plantation for The Journey through Hallowed Ground Partnership: Living Legacy Project

First of all, I bring greetings from the National Commander-in-Chief Waldron Kintzing Post II and the entire membership of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. 

We are here today to fulfill our obligation to the men who fell in the great American struggle, we call the Civil War.  It is our duty and our privilege to devote ourselves to preserving the memory of their sacrifice regardless of their uniform, their race, or their motivations.  For each of them was a husband, a father, or a son to a family which loved them and mourned their loss.

At this very moment one hundred and fifty years ago the men of two great armies were engaged in the final act of the Civil War in Virginia. In the small village of Appomattox Court House.  As the "'Boys in Blue" stood at shoulder arms along the roadside and the long line of grey clad veterans stacked their arms before marching away to an uncertain future, I am confident, that all their thoughts were filled with memories of lost friends and family who had once marched among them.   In the years following the war songs such as the "Vacant Chair and "Auld Lang Syne" were song by veterans from both sides, and monuments were placed on the sacred grounds of Gettysburg, Shiloh, Fredericksburg, and Antietam bys the veterans who did their best to fulfill Abraham Lincoln's words that, the world would never forget those who had given the  "Last Full Measure of Devotion." 

Today it is our turn educate our fellow citizens and to promote the remembrance of the dead both Blue and Grey who are each Hero's to their families.   May these trees, which were planted today become a living memorial to those we honor, and may it come to pass that the families of these men find their way to this place and sit beneath the branches; so that they may find both a connection and a sense of peace with the spirits of their ancestors.Thank you for the honor of speaking at this very special ceremony.  May God bless the United States and grant his grace and peace to those we seek to honor today.Speech written and presented by Mark R. Day 4/12/15.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 4/12/15, all rights reserved

"These remarks were written on Sunday morning 4-12-15 as, I ate breakfast at the McDonalds in Lovingston, VA.  Having participated in the surrender ceremonies at Appomattox Court House on Friday and Saturday, I found myself drawing upon that experience.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Photo: Untitled

Photo posted with the Permission of the Artist.  Photo Taken by Amy Grubbs Moore Dec 2014, Copyright by Amy Grubbs Moore 12-30-2014, all rights reserved

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Commentary: The Hobbit

Last Tuesday evening Barbara and I went to see "The Battle of the Five Armies" the third and final Hobbit movie. I first read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit more than 40 years ago. It was my first journey into the world of Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits. I was enthralled then and continue to be enthralled. I have waited patiently through the past ten years to see these marvelous literary masterpieces brought to life on the big screen and now that the last of the Hobbit ...series is complete, I would hope that Mr. Jackson will look at the other writings of Tolkien such as "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Farmer Giles of Ham, or perhaps even the stories of the Silmarillion for inspiration to keep bringing us stories of Middle Earth. I think Mr. Jackson, while taking great literary and theatrical license with the original stories, has brought us a great work which can inspire us to accept our differences, understand that often the greatest power comes from the least of sources, to stand for what is right, and to defend beauty, peace, and love from destruction by ever present and malevolent evil. I told Barbara yesterday that perhaps the best lines in the final film are these which pass between Thranduil and Tauriel near the end. Tauriel asks. "Why does it hurt so much" referring to the death of Kili and to her question Thranduil responds, "because it was real" referring to her love for Kili. Perhaps that is the secret to my love for the stories of Tolkien, it is because they are real to me and have became part of my very soul.