May 30, 2007

Everyone is a little stiff and self-consciously reverent. And then comes the speech. That’s the problem. It is time for the truth to be told and we cannot bring ourselves to tell it. Good men and women were sacrificed to the vanity of politicians and generals. It is a miserable business to tell lies over the graves of good soldiers, but we do, and then we all sing “America the Beautiful,” including the verse about heroes proved in liberating strife, and the honor guard fires its rifle salute and somebody presses Play on a boombox and we hear “Taps” and the guard turns about-face and marches off and we walk away, thoughtfully, and there is much to think about.

~ Garrison Keillor, from Telling lies over good soldiers’ graves

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