ADAGIO FOR STRINGS – samuel barber

“the first casualty of war is the truth.”  SENATOR HIRAM JOHNSON – 1917

I’ve been sitting here at my desk for over an hour trying to compose an appropriate, patriotic weekend post for this Memorial Day.  I’ve been sitting here remembering past holidays when I proudly displayed American flags in the front yard for Memorial Day and July 4th.  And, sadly, all that fills my mind are the mournful strings of Barber’s Adagio for Strings.  I remember those sounds from the movie, PLATOON.  It was a somber commentary on the truth of our 1st defeat as a country in battle.  It was  a story which needed to be told about Vietnam, the divisive war which lined the coffers of the American munitions/defense/industrial complex at a cost of 1.4 million casualties of which 58,220 were courageous American warriors.

I won’t put my flags out this year and probably not for years to come.  I may die never again displaying those flags.  Absolutely, I continue to honor and revere those who serve and those who gave their lives in service, but today I kneel with sadness rather than salute with respect the flag which represents a once proud nation led astray by greed and corruption.

A friend recently reminded me that we don’t have to agree politically or theologically to continue loving one another.  I hope he is right and for today I will hold on to that thought for the comfort needed to survive this darkness.




11 Replies to “ADAGIO FOR STRINGS – samuel barber”

  1. I share your sentiments … last year was the first year that I could not … simply could not come up with a post for Independence Day speaking to the good of this nation, and this year I cannot for either Memorial Day nor Independence Day, for in truth I am no longer proud of this nation. Like you, I may die being ashamed of the nation I live in. I do honour all of those who gave their lives for our country, but I also feel sad that it may end up having been for naught, having been only so a madman could destroy 230+ years of unity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Buddha tells me that life is impermanent and life is suffering. I will not allow the world to swallow me up in its BS, but instead I will tend my own personal garden and make it flourish. Then life can be good. I can observe the world, but don’t have to wallow with it in the mire of greed, hatred, and corruption. Jill, I really appreciate your comments.


  2. I remember seeing “Platoon,” and hearing that mournful tune for the first time. I remember experiencing something I’ve never experienced at any movie before or since. Usually when an audience is walking out of a movie, people are talking. Nobody said a word walking out of this one. It was like the entire audience was just dumbstruck at what it had just witnessed. That is what this beautiful Samuel Barber composition will remind me of forever. My eternal gratitude to every military person who ever laid his or her life down for the cause of freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, brother. Very few movies have changed my thinking about life like Platoon. I still cry when I hear the music and I still get angry when I think about Vietnam. I was stationed at Phila. Naval Hospital as a corpsman 1969-1970. I was assigned to the psych wards. The amputee wards were on the other side of the hospital grounds. The brothers with missing arms and legs would congregate in the hall with brothers who had broken minds suffered in Vietnam. We all carry the scars.

      Liked by 1 person

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