Memorial day is coming up again this weekend. This day has become very important to me, and becomes ever moreso as the veterans among us grow ever
fewer as the years roll on.
Just recently, the last official WWI veteran passed away in England.
All too soon the WWII veterans will follow suit.
I'm a child of a three war veteran. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. My father, his brothers, my mothers brothers, all my siblings, most of my cousins, and
many of my friends served this country, and in a number a cases, other countries with honor and courage.
So, this weekend, I'm going to take a moment or two, and remember the men and women who have served. Standing watch against those who would do us
harm. Past, present, and future, though one can hope that the opportunities to do so in the future will be somewhat more limited than is the case
Gettysburg. Cold Harbour. Verdun. Jutland. Stalingrad. Midway. Normandy. Tarawa. Guadalcanal. Inchon. Pusan Perimeter. Ia Drang. Hamburger Hill.
Afghanistan. Iraq. Kuwait. ...and a million other places unremarked by history, but remembered by those who were there.
Deserts. Jungles. Prairies. Oceans. All have born mute witness to the savagery that man inflicts upon himself in the name of a cause. But they've
also born witness to uncanny courage, and sacrifice.
These young men and women stood up to be counted when asked, or told. Whether draftee, or volunteer, they stood tall when it mattered most.
Most returned to home and hearth. Some did not. Some returned, but not all the way. Whether whole, or broken, or dead; they deserve to be remembered.
They are our children. Our brothers. Our sisters. Fathers. Mothers. Cousins. Nieces and Nephews. Neighbors. The friends we grew up with. The people we
have shared the good times with, and the bad times, as well. They are us. We are them.
We may consider the causes for which they shed blood for, killed for, died for, to be foolishness. Or criminal enterprises. Or any number of dire
things. Does that make their courage any the less?
...and indeed, history may indeed judge them so, it has in the past. But it makes the courage and honor none the less worthy.
Whether the cause was just or not, courage is courage. Honor is still worthy of respect.
So to those who have stood watch on the ramparts of history whether I know you or not: Thank you.
My family. My friends. To you I say thank you.
When you remember them, remember too, the enemies who, as well, served a cause they believed just. Courage should be honored. ...and honor remembered.
Will it be all in vain?
Many will say that those who fell, fell in vain. That their sacrifice was, is, and will be just that. A straw death. Meaningless. Useless.
Well now, that ultimately is up to you, and I, isn't it? Those of you who think this, and those of us who disagree will, and can, ultimately decide
that. We, both here in America, and elsewhere elect the politicians who decide to send our sons and daughters into harms way.
We, who sit here in our comfortable, and safe, homes rendering judgement upon our own sons and daughters; bear sole blame for whether or not these,
our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents, friends, died in vain. Us. We, who hold ultimate power in our hands can, and will, be to blame,
when all is said and done. How will history remember you, and me?
As citizens who matched the courage of the fallen on those far flung battlefields by finally deciding that the last shot has been fired? Or as moral
cowards who, when it came to it, couldn't match the rhetoric with actions.
The fallen aren't the villains in this piece, that legacy belongs to you, and me. But only if we, indeed, allow that sacrifice to be in vain.
They, for whatever reason, stood up to be counted. Can we do any less?
All is well, safely rest...