Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day: No Matter How I Feel About "The War," I Stand In Admiration Of It's Heroes!

A substantially significant holiday is upon us. On this last Monday in May, fly your flags with great pride, bow your heads in reverence, share stories of those you remember and adorn the graves of the fallen with the most beautiful d├ęcor. Remember that this day is not just a day off, a chance to start up the grill or an excuse to picnic at the park. This day is to honor our fallen heroes, recognize the sacrifices they made and make tribute to their memory.

It's hard to know how much time to spend remembering. Memories are more often sad than happy.

The word "memorial" itself has a sad sound to it. Those to whom we are close die, and we want to remember them. We die, and we want to be remembered, but no amount of longing can bring anyone back, so there is a limit to the value of grief. Servicemen and women do not choose their battles, they do not choose their enemies. They are told where to go and what to do by leaders that may or may not have their best interests at heart, by leaders who may or may not have seen combat themselves. And they do the very best they can, under circumstances the rest of us will never be able to comprehend.

We think of this war now in Iraq as terrible because every day we get the news that three or seven more Americans have been killed. In the Civil War, 365,000 Northern soldiers were killed, and 133,000 soldiers from the South died. In World War I, 116,000 American soldiers were killed. In World War II, 407,000 died, 54,000 died in Korea, 58,000 in Vietnam. More than a million Americans have died in our wars, each one much loved by someone. It’s hard for most people to understand that you can hate wars and the reasons for fighting them, but still love, honor, and support the US military.

My Dad served in the U.S. Navy and although he never saw a battle, the love and respect that he taught us - for the soldiers - for the flag, will never be forgotten!

There are men in every country on earth - mostly men - who spend full time devising new ways for us to kill each other. In the United States alone, we spend seven times as much on war as on education. There's something wrong there. On this Memorial Day, we should certainly honor those who have died at war, but we should dedicate this day, not so much to their memory, but to the search for a way to end the idiocy of the wars that killed them.

Also on this day falls the National Moment of Remembrance. A resolution passed in 2000 designated 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as the moment for all to spend a moment in silence to appreciate what those in uniform have given so others may enjoy freedom. This may be the best time to put down your cell phone, lower the volume of the stereo, turn off the television and pause a moment to recognize our brave troops. Take the time to observe in your own way what patriotism means, how the families of the fallen have grieved, and the freedom Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers fought for. A loved one. A friend. A husband, wife, brother or sister. A classmate. A fellow servicemember. It was for these our heroes paid the ultimate price. One day. One day out of 365 days. This is a small price to pay.

My humble thanks to all our Military Men and Women for watching, defending, and protecting this great land of ours. Those who didn't make it home, my prayers go out to your families and children left behind. Some of whom never got to know you. They are proud I am sure, but it is a sad proudness. Because no matter what, a loss is always felt deeply and for some will be felt always..We will never forget! Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the holiday, but remember and remind others of the true meaning of Memorial Day. Let your feelings of support, unity and patriotism flow freely on this day, and stand together in appreciation of our military men and women.