Photography and art making as play.

Tag: Memorial Day

Monday, May 30, 2022: Memorial Day

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Here is a question we might want to ask as we honor those who died while serving in our armed forces: In what ways has this country become unworthy of their sacrifice?

Four developments come immediately to mind, all connected to one of our nation’s major political parties: (1) the wide embrace of the Big Lie that refuses to accept the results of a free and legitimate presidential election; (2) Republican-led state efforts to restrict voting rights and choice through onerous election regulations, gerrymandering, and partisan appointments; (3) minority and obstructionist rule in the Senate; (4) a Supreme Court majority whose religious and ultra-conservative views can no longer be counted on to guarantee individual rights or the government’s role in protecting public and environmental health.

Feel free to add to this list.

While America has never lived up to its founding ideals, it remains incumbent upon every generation to bring us closer to them — not to send us backwards.

Monday, May 31, 2021: Memorial Day

As I reflect on this Memorial Day, I am ashamed of this country. We show respect for our nation’s war dead by having picnics and barbecues, and shopping for sales. We make a pretense of honoring the ultimate sacrifice soldiers made, yet millions of Americans refused to be inconvenienced by masking-up, practicing social distancing, and getting life-saving vaccinations in the cause of a greater good. We celebrate our military for defending our freedoms while Republican politicians and legislatures undertake an all-out assault on electoral voting, the bedrock of our democracy.

For this sorry state of affairs on Memorial Day, 2021, there’s one person in particular who deserves special thanks—Cadet Bone Spurs.

Let us not forget the damage this man has left in his wake.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Monday, May 27, 2019: Memorial Day

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Memorial Day is traditionally the day when Americans head for the malls to take advantage of holiday store sales honor their war dead, but maybe it’s time to set aside another day of remembrance—one that honors the victims of lynchings, mass shootings, extrajudicial police killings, and lethal criminal violence. These are the people who weren’t able to enjoy the freedom and security that our soldiers fought for and died to protect. Their shamefully high numbers are a stain on our nation’s conscience.

(A note on the image):

The picture is a composite of photographs that depict: (1) the 1930 Marion, Indiana lynchings of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith (Lawrence Beitler, photographer); (2) the 1882 lynching of an unidentified Afro-American man; (3) a memorial to the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting (photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images); (4) an American flag.

From the first link:

“The iconic photograph of the incident inspired Abel Meeropol to write the poem and song “Strange Fruit,” which Billie Holliday recorded in 1939. 

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.”


Another version, sung by Nina Simone with disturbing images of other lynchings.



Monday, May 28, 2018: Memorial Day

(Click on images to enlarge.)


And let us also remember Claudia Patricia Gómez Gonzáles, a 20-year-old Guatemalan woman who traveled 1500 hundred miles to the United States in hopes of earning enough money to further her education. Soon after she and a group of migrants set foot on U.S. soil last week, she was shot to death by a border patrol agent. Does this represent the America that thousands of our citizens have fought and died for? I’d like to think not but without any moral leadership, our democracy is a sham.



Photography and art making as play.