Today is Memorial Day in the US, the holiday commemorating those who have died while active in the armed forces, serving and protecting the rest of us. It began as "Decoration Day" after the Civil War, in which the "decoration" was of the graves of the war's dead. These days, sometimes, sentiment extends it also to those who have died as first-responders — police, firefighters, paramedics.
I hope that I do not in any way trivialize the holiday's solemn due by saying that its timing this year, as we gear up fkficfest
, connected in my mind with some elements of FK's story. skieswideopen
made an observation this weekend that reminded me that, whatever happened later, conquistador Vachon died, a young soldier, on a battlefield far, far from his home. Though gravely wounded, crusader Nick survived his battlefields in body, and yet, as melissatreglia
noted a week or so ago, the "deutero-canon" from that venerable Jim Parriot interview is that Nick was a prisoner of war — enduring captivity in the Levant before eventually, somehow, making his way back to France — incomparably changed from Gwyneth's blithe lover into Lacroix's disillusioned prey. Lacroix, of course, as a general (probably "legate," properly) of Roman legions, perpetrated what we today recognize as war crimes.
Of course the late Susan G.'s 1995 FK poem "Old Soldiers
," inspired by the Raven scene in "My Boyfriend is a Vampire," came to mind. If you haven't read it yet, don't miss it. (If you don't usually like poetry, try reading it aloud; give it a chance.)