Memorial Day Tribute

Here in the USA while we have set aside special days to commemorate things we all agree are/were important in history, there is a strong tendency to pass over these memories in the hurry to enjoy a “holiday.”

I’ll tell you what – let’s not participate in that voluntary mental block, Okay? Let’s you and me take a little time to think on the things and particularly the people that have enabled this Great Nation to continue existing. Here is a video put together by the folks at the History Channel that will set you off in the right spirit. (After their obligatory commercial)

Whether or not we agree with the particular conflict our armed forces are involved in – they are OUR ARMED FORCES, and they fight for our way of life at the direction of our government. Perhaps the most shameful thing we have sometimes done was to denigrate the warrior as a method of expressing our ire at the war. I hope we never again make that mistake, but people being people……. So then, let’s you and me remember, and remind our circle of friends, and perhaps they will do the same.

While we have enjoyed a relatively peaceful stretch of time in the lives of my children (born in 1969 & 1970) our active duty military is always a target for someone.

U.S. Active Duty Military Deaths 1980-2006
1980 …. 2,392
1981 …. 2,380
1982 …. 2,319
1983 …. 2,465
1984 …. 1,999
1985 …. 2,252
1986 …. 1,984
1987 …. 1,983
1988 …. 1,819
1989 …. 1,636
1990 …. 1,507
1991 …. 1,787
1992 …. 1,293
1993 …. 1,213
1994 …. 1,075
1995 …. 1,040
1996 ……. 974
1997 ……. 817
1998 ……. 827
1999 ……. 796
2000 ……. 758
2001 ……. 891
2002 ……. 999
2003 …. 1,410
2004 …. 1,873
2005 …. 1,941
2006 …. 1,875

So when we fire up the grill, or turn on the game, or whatever we do….Let’s do it in Memory of those “Proud Few,” that “Band of Brothers” who today, yesterday, and in our distant history gave their all to get us to this very moment in time.

And we best remember that it is only a matter of time before the price of freedom comes due again.

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This entry was posted in History/Learning From the Past, Our Great Nation, Rights and Responsibility and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Memorial Day Tribute

  1. A says:

    This Memorial Day leaves me conflicted. Do you really believe all the dead from past wars have died to preserve our ‘freedom’?
    Let’s just take the time from that faithful day in Sept . Do you really believe that going into Iraq strengthen our ‘freedom’ ? Did you remember the planes were flown by Saudi Arabians? Our country as we knew it has lost so much in the name of security. We have been railroaded into to giving up basic freedoms that infringe on the sovereign right of each and every citizen. The so called Patriot Act is the biggest abomination of the word PATRIOT. I am risking even responding to your request through an email using vocabulary that raises red flags.. The only way I can live with the thought of all those who gave their life in all the horror is World Peace. And I mean the whole planet. EVERYONE is some mother’s child regardless of which side they were serving.
    I am not an historian by any means but I believe back as far as man can remember, war has served the few who profit. Many times the profit is from both sides.
    Memorial Day Celebrations began after the civil war. Many who died were close to home and buried in locally. As people got together to remember their loved ones they began to share in a ‘covered dish’…..it evolved slowly with survivors speaking to parades with patriotic music to what it is today….a time to celebrate? Maybe it is a time to pray.
    Love to you both,
    A

  2. C says:

    Well, I must say I was really unsure how to deal with this response following my Memorial Day message. It comes to me from someone I love and respect, and I think it deserves a serious response. I am dealing with it here in order to welcome comments and/or responses from any of my other readers. Let me take it point by point.

    “Do you really believe all the dead from past wars have died to preserve our ‘freedom’?” Yes, I do. But perhaps not in the way you are suggesting. In my post I implied that I have not agreed with all of the armed conflicts in which our soldiers have perished. And I truly have not. But my point is, by and large, those warriors who gave their lives did it in the very real belief that it was to preserve our freedom. I salute them and their efforts in my behalf.

    “Do you really believe that going into Iraq strengthen our ‘freedom’ ?” No, but what was going on there before we stepped in was not right either. To me, it could be argued either way – and I do not believe that any of us has all the information.

    “Did you remember the planes were flown by Saudi Arabians?” Indeed I do, and I find it unconscionable that ‘we’ (the USA) rank Saudi Arabia among our friends. Clearly all we represent to them is money and all they mean to our government is oil & money.

    “The so called Patriot Act is the biggest abomination of the word PATRIOT.” I couldn’t agree more. It is a exactly as Benjamin Franklin said, “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.” Having read my posts you must know how I feel about this.

    “The only way I can live with the thought of all those who gave their life in all the horror is World Peace.” Here, I think, we feel differently. I too am appalled by the horror of war, but I look around and I see a place where “World Peace” will never exist. True evil lives in the hearts & minds of too many people, and I do not believe that there is any answer to the raised hand rather then the hand raised in defense. Have we always been just the defender? No. Has the US always been on the side of justice? No. But that does not diminish my agreement with Abraham Lincoln. Speaking in his Gettysburg Address, he said, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    “war has served the few who profit. Many times the profit is from both sides.” You are right, and war for profit is an even greater evil. But that does not change anything that I have said.

    “it evolved slowly with survivors speaking to parades with patriotic music to what it is today….a time to celebrate? Maybe it is a time to pray.” I think this is a very slanted view of Memorial Day. Everything I have seen is represented by: “Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.” And if those who survived the tragedy are also honored, I think it is fitting. This day is not about “celebrating” war, or death, or profit, or militarism. It is about being thankful for coming through it, and recognizing those loved ones we now are missing because of it. And it is truly, “a time to pray.”

    Does everyone feel the way I do? Probably not. As I mentioned, all too often some folks just see another reason to ‘party.’ I for one am particularly thankful for the rest of us – those who see beyond the ballyhoo, take it to heart, and even debate the value, merit, and injustice of it all.

    With love, appreciation and high regard for your thoughts,
    Chris

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