An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

May 25, 2008

Freemason Harbor - Pt. III, Memorial Day

When Europeans first arrived here, downtown was a collection of creeks and marshes, punctuated with a few spots of high ground. Most of the wetlands and creeks were filled in a long time ago, but during times of high water, they try and reassert themselves. So a flood wall was built with pumps that keep the city dry. Next to the pump station is the battleship Wisconsin with is massive guns aimed directly at downtown.

I have been accused of many things in my life, but to my knowledge, no one has ever accused me of being overly patriotic. However, I can not put into words how I feel when I think about the men and women who left the comfort that was their life to serve in the military, and in many cases suffer injuries or die. It doesn't matter why they were fighting, who told them to go, which war it was or if it was a just cause or not -- what matters is their sacrifice. I am not so sure what my answer would be if ever I was asked to serve.

On the harbor in Town Point Park is the Armed Forces Memorial, and it is one of the most poignant monuments I have seen. It is not some grandiose slab of marble or a soaring granite spire. It is composed of letters written home by people who were asked to serve and who died doing it. The letters are of bronze and represent all of the wars since the Revolutionary up to the first Gulf War. They are made to look as if they were blowing around in the wind coming off of the harbor.

Please click on the image so you can read the letters.
As a gardener, I found this letter touching. I'd like to think that I would have noticed the same things this soldier saw.
I am glad that letters written by women were also chosen.
This letter could have been written yesterday somewhere in Iraq.While we are circling the shopping mall parking lots, looking for a space so we can take advantage of the sales, or as we are grilling or on the water -- let's keep in mind what Memorial Day really means.


  1. What a fine memorial. It shows the humanity of the soldiers. And I liked the one about the roses too.

  2. I get choked up visiting places like this too.

  3. David and Chuck,
    Thanks for you comments. This place has very little press, and I stumbled upon it several years ago and wondered why more locals didn't know about it.

  4. Interesting post--I greatly enjoy things like this, but also have a weakness for anything that makes our wars become more human, as they really are. When I was in Normandy years ago it was simply a moment of awe, of trying to imagine just 1% of what that first day was like. And, of course, at Dachau in Germany, dozens of people walked around not making one sound at all.