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Observing Memorial Day

May 29, 2011

This may not be the prototypical post observing this national holiday, but for me, it’s one that needed to be written. I do, with everything I have, thank those that have stepped up and chosen to be “defenders” of this country.

Soldiers wear many hats though and are not only on the battle lines fighting the “good fight”. Our soldiers do other important tasks, like help rebuild or keep order after a natural disaster. They are there on the front line to help in relief situations here in the US and overseas. Their task is not only to “cut down the enemy in battle”, but to help those that are not able to help themselves.

This memorial day it’s not just about those that have passed or those that are continuing to fight but also for those that were injured and forgotten. Yes, I said forgotten.

You would think with all they do for this country, our country would do something for them. Someone very close to me, my father, fought back in the days of Vietnam. Due to botched “booster” shots and a necessary blood transfusion, he came down with an illness. This illness in turn brought on cancer, which is killing him. My issue is the fact that conditions were not sterile, needles were re-used and sterility was not part of the equation.

Men, and women, choose the lifestyle. With valor and honor they choose to lead a life full of danger, but full of love for their country and countrymen. Yet, when it comes time to help them heal from wounds sustained in war, or from botched medical services, where is the valor and honor from our government. Soldiers are paid a pittance for one of the hardest jobs in the world, their employers know this and just don’t care. The benefits they are given are hard to get, while their employers health care is top notch. They have to jump through hoops just to see a doctor, a doubt members of Congress ever waited to be seen. And then, that doctor, is at the will of government bureaucracy.

My point in all of this is we have these days set aside every year to remember them all. But what about the other 364 days? They do their job 365 days a year, but we only take one to recognize it? Huh? Where’s the love??

So, for all those forgotten, may you be remembered today and everyday. Thank you!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2011 10:37 am

    I am sympathetic to the principle of your post, as well as the idea put forward by commenter Dylan. I do feel much of the same inclination as the two of you.

    That said, I do have a contrary inclination as well. Namely, the cornerstone of any “memorial” is that it is a demonstration of respect. My fear is that when one takes a memorial for any specific person or group, and expand it beyond those particular people – especially when one makes it not about the people, but about a political or social principle – we end up ignoring or dismissing the people – and thus engage in a disrespectful act.

    Just a thought…

  2. Dylan permalink
    May 29, 2011 11:43 am

    I think it is also important that Memorial Day is a day of reflection on the harm that has been done in this world as a result of wars that the United States has fought. Honoring someone who has served in the military should not turn into a blanket approval of US’s wars (ie, saying they were necessary to defend the country, or they were a “good fight”). Perhaps awareness of the tragedy of war is a better starting place for a Memorial Day.

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