Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and Saint Joan of Arc

The maid of Orleans, Saint Joan of Arc
Today is the day the US honors its war dead.  Serendipitously, it lands on May 30th this year, the feast day of the Patron Saint of Soldiers and France, St. Joan of Arc.  As we've described in the past,  St. Joan of Arc has no official connection to New Orleans, though she is honored and venerated here.
Saint Joan of Arc, a flattering portrait.
Her date of birth is celebrated on January 6, the starting date of Mardi Gras season, but her feast is celebrated on the day of her martyrdom, May 30.  I'm unaware of any gathering to honor her at the base of the gilt statue at the head of the French Market, but I'll be making my way down to the Quarter to pay my respects.
Saint Joan of Arc in full regalia.
Life in New Orleans is like that.  The city is peppered with shrines and reminders of people who are reminders of what is good and best about being human.  The city itself is a testament to the strength and hope that make human life worth living.  It is full of distractions and diversions, but at its core, New Orleans is about resilience and faith.
Saint Joan of Arc: an inspiration
For a pamphlet describing Saint Joan of Arc's history in New Orleans written and hand colored by Whalehead King, please send $4.00 via paypal (tax and shipping included).  I'll even throw in a medal and a silken cord to wear as a fond reminder of her heroism and the special place she holds in New Orleanians' hearts.

While Memorial Day is celebrated as the start of the summer vacation season (school in New Orleans ended its 2010-2011 session last week), it is a day intended to give due respect to those who perished during the wars that have, unfortunately and necessarily, been undertaken on behalf of us all.  As well as honoring Saint Joan of Arc today, visit a cemetery and put your hat over your heart when you pass the graves decorated by American flags.  Utter a prayer of thanks.

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