Every Memorial Day week end we take the time, in between parades, barbeques and beach parties, to think about those who gave their lives on behalf of our country’s ideals.
This piece is not about griping or preaching; it is about a reality which seems to dodge many who celebrate the memory of someone who may have been family, friend or just a local boy/girl who died in the midst of his or her service time.
Most of these kids, with the exception of those we “affectionately” called (with all due respect, earned in spades) “lifers”, went into the armed forces to get away from a miserable or non existent home life, a bleak future or just –back in the Viet Nam era, which is my reference point- because their numbers came up in the draft. Yet, this same group mixture of malcontents, misfits, non-believers, believers and volunteers, eventually became a group of trained individuals who, at some point, decided that in order to meet their commitment and perhaps survive, they had to give their all; including the possibility of giving up their lives. In
some 58,000 soldiers did just this. Viet Nam
|In Memory of those who left us...|
They were sent to fight to a part of the world which meant little or nothing to the vast majority of them as individuals, an unidentifiable country with a name most could not even spell before getting there; to fight a war which was never officially declared and where they were egged on by a government which, at the same time it was doling out contracts worth millions, was tying their (our, for I was in the Army then, although not in the actual war zone) hands with politically induced limits which almost guaranteed the eventual, disastrous outcome.
After all those sacrificial deaths, what is visually remembered -especially “first paged” by the same press which fed on the daily carnage to spur their own interests- is the picture of that last helicopter with people hanging on as if their lives depended on this last ride out, leaving the roof of an abandoned embassy which, much like a derelict ship, was being left to sink in the waves of a maelstrom...
If we take this and extend the same parameters out to the men and women in uniform who have fought in the different wars our country has been, we find that the over all picture is much the same. Yet, these men and women went, fought, spilled their blood, suffered through incredibly bad physical and emotional conditions and, in always too many instances, gave their lives… because they believed in a system which guarantees that we, as individuals, have inalienable rights which will be, at all times, upheld by a government which has been elected in the trust it will do so. Sometimes it seems that the elected officials tend to forget this sacred covenant, in the pursuit of their own agenda.
|... so that the ones who come behind will have the same rights.|
It is at these times that we, as people, have to once again take up the arms of the voting booth, and make sure that those who have betrayed our trust cannot continue to get away with it… And this, friends, is also an intrinsic part of the system for which so many have given their all throughout the history of this great nation.
I will say, not “happy” Memorial Day but… “Proud Memorial Day”. To our brethren in arms; those who gave their lives and to those who, by being their families and friends, also suffered a grave loss. Let’s never forget their sacrifice or the reasons for which they fought and died.
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