Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

There was a discussion on another venue about the meaning of Memorial Day, which started when the original poster said that it is a day “that we thank those who served in the military.” After I and some others argued that it is a day that we remember those who have died in the armed service of their country he did change that to “we thank those who served in the military, especially those who served in combat and lost their lives.”

Which is, of course, still wrong and makes him invincibly ignorant.

Today is a day to watch auto races; one which will probably be exciting and another, later in the day, which will almost certainly be about as exciting as watching sewage ooze out of an overfull septic tank.

Tomorrow is a day to remember, and honor, those who have gone to war, in the words of Kenneth Roberts, “not to die for their country, but to place themselves, their precious lives, between their home and the forces which would destroy it.” Men like the crew of the USS Thresher, some of whom were close friends, the USS Scorpion, and all of the submarines “on eternal patrol.”

If there is a National Cemetery near you, go there tomorrow and take a look at all of the uniform white markers, aligned in neat rows no matter in which direction you view them. Note the little flags in front of each one, placed there in remembrance, and you will know the meaning of “Memorial Day” through its original name, which was “Decoration Day.”

Take a walk and read some names. No need to thank them. No ceremonies or grand gestures required. The military has a code that they do not leave their dead behind. We as a people should have the same code. Don’t leave them behind. Remember who they are.

Every year on 9/11 we read the names of those who were victims of that day. Why do we never read the names of those who fell in Fallujah? Why is there never a reading of the names of those who lost their lives on Iwo Jima, or at Chosin Resevoir?

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