For those of us who pause this weekend in our annual three-day orgy of swimming, beer, bbq, family gatherings, NASCAR/ Indy… I think you might agree that as a nation we are are missing the entire point of what we call Memorial Day.
Hard to mistake the intent of the name…. memoriam –from the Latin, meaning “in memory of.”
Yes, it’s about dead soldiers.
You see, there’s Veterans Day and D-Day and December 7th and Armed Forces Day and each of the services has its birthday… Memorial Day is reserved for those to have served this nation well and now lie in its soil. It is theirs alone; if you are reading this it’s not yours, not mine–veteran or not… its theirs.
I wince, as no doubt you do, at “72-Hour MEMORIAL DAY WEEK END SALE!!”; and I understand, it’s a free (market) country and we cannot dictate or demand respect, dignity or solemnity for our honored dead. The best we can hope is that in the check out line in Wal-mart, some may actually pause and give thanks to those who have willingly laid down their lives for our debit/credit cards.
Yeah, I know they didn’t intend it that way… but how else do we explain it to today’s feckless society? They only respond to buy one/get one.
Bitter….? Of course; I glare at dipwads who won’t remove their head gear for the the National Anthem (I gave up my usual, get-in-their-face MO about 15 years ago).
Which reminds me… how is it that the 7th-inning stretch is now turned over to “God Bless America” during which fans are directed to remove their caps; they even put their hands over their hearts….. when exactly did a British tune become our second anthem?
Can you image how confused grade school kids are by this misplaced show of patriotism? It’s a nice, heartfelt tune, but it is no more than that… no more than Yankee-Doodle Dandy or (God save me) “Proud to be an American” which ran out of shelf life about 15 years ago.
Besides, it’s just more clever ammo for those who want the National Anthem changed to something less bellicose than the Star Spangled Banner.
So no… I stand to stretch but I do not salute or pledge to the quasi-religious hymn God Bless America… and considering the Obama Regime’s recent decision to side with the Muslim terrorists and against Israel, we may well be in jeopardy of losing God’s favor by abandoning His chosen people.
People say, “Happy Memorial Day!”
When I hear that I see myself bagging and tagging someone in a rubber shroud; a crumpled point man lying inert, his uniform smoking from the blast.
Sorry… they started it.
I always manage to mutter “thanks” which makes me feel like and idiot…. a guilty idiot; because if I do not admonish them, how can I expect them to return to the root word “memoriam”?
See… I’m part of the problem as well.
“But GA, isn’t that what they died for… our freedom to enjoy our bountiful lives?”
Yeah, in the end… but the goal of our troops dying for your freedom is not to abide generations of insolent youth who laugh at the military and its sacrifices while they dash head-long into a materialistic frenzy of consumer electronics, big government and “social justice.”
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it any more than I like a left-wing, fifth columnist who uses his “freedom” to burn the American flag… that same flag that has covered so many of my friends’ coffins.
The justification rings hollow and makes me want to rescind my in-their-face decision of the 90s.
And people wonder, stand mystified as to why veterans and the military feel like strangers in their own land.
Land? Hell, I’m sure I’d have more in common with someone from another planet than I do with half those who call themselves “Americans.”
I tell you who I do connect with… I rekindle my connection with real America watching the Military Channel and old WWII films on Turner Classic Movies.
“A Guy Named Joe”, “Back to Bataan”, “The Longest Day”, “Hollywood Canteen”, “Sand of Iwo Jima”… I like those people… the real people and their characters, the directors and cameramen; I respect those people, I am one of those people… just simply cursed by a birth 25 years too late.
Had I been born in 1923, I’d have been 18 in 1941… just right; and if they’d have had me, I would have applied for membership in the Greatest Generation America will ever see.
So for the most part this “holiday” is not a laugh-filled weekend fun fest … I usually spend my time attending patriotic ceremonies, remembering my friends and comrades and I ask you to do so as well…. at least for at least several minutes. Don’t rush it…. just sit quietly and think about Valley Forge and it’s mind-numbing cold, not unlike the mind-numbing cold in Korea or at the Battle of the Bulge.
Remember the magnificent stand on Wake Island, the horror of Iwo and Gettysburg, the trenches in France; flip through those Vietnam images… Khe Shan, Con Tien, Tet.
Remember the great victories at Midway, Belleau Wood, Yorktown, Inchon, and thousands of other skirmishes, battles, fire-fights and desperate defenses fought anonymously by our troops in places which stand unrecorded or ignored by historians.
No matter, especially on Memorial Day… the dying was just the same.
Everyday I remember and try to prove myself worthy of the sacrifice of these friends and comrades:
MIKE COMPANY, THIRD BATTALION, FIRST MARINE REGIMENT – REPUBLIC OF SOUTH VIETNAM
JOHN HILL KIA 08/22/69 — Silver Star
ROBERT BITTNER KIA 09/27/69
TOM DOLAN III KIA 06/12/69
TOM MCSTOOTS KIA 06/12/69
ADRIAN ALLEN KIA 10/09/69
STEVIE TAYLOR KIA 10/09/69
JOHN ROMO KIA 08/23/69
MIKE MCMASTER KIA 06/27/69
ELIAS PEALER KIA 05/08/70
WILILAM FRAKES KIA 07/03/70
STEVE ALLISON KIA 10/20/69
DENNIS KIPP KIA 10/20/69
LARRY PIERCE KIA 09/20/65 — Medal of Honor
DENNIS DYER KIA 09/04/66
BILL STONE KIA 10/29/68
LARRIE GOTCHER KIA 03/22/68
RALPH KEELER KIA 05/17/68
DON MORRIS KIA 07/06/68
CHESTER O’BRIEN JR KIA 03/05/66
FRANK OSTER KIA 03/04/68
DON PERRY KIA 10/26/68
LARRY RASEY KIA 7/26/70
RAYMOND TAYLOR KIA 06/03/69
HARRY THOMAS KIA 08/13/65
DENNIS WRIGHT KIA 11/26/66
FORT MORGAN, COLORADO
GERALD GREENE KIA 09/12/65
DAVID MIDCAP KIA 12/06/67
DAN WARNER KIA 10/08/67
JERRY WEIMER KIA 08/23/68
CPL JOHN MACDONALD, USMC Ret. –died of wounds, 1996