Memorial Day

On this day, I thought I might speak about our Armed Forces- it is a day for honoring and remembering those who have laid their lives on the line and sacrificed themselves so that we might remain free. Our armed forces have a storied history, and for any naysayers who are keeping count, there have been far fewer negative incidents than the positive and uplifting stories of bravery and compassion from our men and women.

My personal experience is not first- hand, as I missed out on being drafted in 1970 by one lottery number- I was, I had thought at the time, lucky- and perhaps I was. A person can wonder about what never was forever, and not get an answer. I was prepared to go if called, but I wasn’t happy about it. I was eighteen, and had other things on my mind at the time.

Many friends of mine went, and some didn’t return. Of those that did, they returned different. War does that- killing someone makes people think, and being scared 24/7 will do that also, because even on leave, the feeling doesn’t quite leave you, or so I have been told.

Other friends chose the National Guard, because those were your choices, join or be drafted, and as our Army Generals found out, a draft doesn’t work. People have to be of the right mindset to join, and those that do make better soldiers in the long run. I find it amusing that all through the Iraq war, one friend of mine, who had grown up at the same time as me was concerned about Bush reinstating the draft. I told him repeatedly that it wouldn’t happen, but he was worried about his son, who clearly isn’t Army material.

I have friends who went into the Navy- one still can’t tell me anything about his tours in a sub. Others went Air Force, and one was a Marine who was a LRRP for two tours- now he was scary, despite the fact that he weighed 145 pounds soaking wet. I once saw him take out three people at a pool table who were harassing him. Him I did not want for an opponent. We became fast friends, however- and a truer friend I have never had.

So the Draft Army became the Volunteer Army, and since has gone through several stages of shrinkage and growth, as politicians diddle with the Armed Forces, and, depending on the politician’s beliefs and prejudices, our Armed Forces have prospered or learned to do with less, but all the time have endured and protected us wherever they have been sent.

This is a magnificent force, one that has accomplished many positive things, and when you include the National Guard in the mix (as you must), these men and women have helped us at the cost to their lives and indeed at times, their families. They have been there to fight our battles, and they have been there to help in our disasters.

They are, indeed, our national treasure, one without whom we would be nothing.

Today, we should all feel pride, as well as humility, as we honor those who have fallen in all of our wars, as well as those who have come home to help make this country the best it can be.

Even though many of us disagree in the direction of this country, we should not disagree about the worth of the men and women in uniform, nor of their rightful place in our society.

Take a moment today and say thanks to a vet.

Blake

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3 Responses to “Memorial Day”

  1. izzatso says:

    Well said, Blake! Thank you for the eloquent words of praise for our troops…our Brothers and Sisters, past and present, who have and will continue to serve on our behalf. I thank you…may God bless you and keep you safe.

  2. a mother says:

    There are many military newspapers that always appreciate letters such as yours, Blake. http://www.stripes.com has prints that cover every continent except Antarctica and they post full papers online for those who don’t have ready access to the hard copy. http://www.kaiserslauternamerican.com also covers the Kaiserslautern Military Community here in Germany (to include Landtuhl Regional Medical Cener). I would be happy to pass your message along and they will be happy to print it in a coming issue (if you’d like) or you can submit your own.
    Thank you and Big Dog for being so supportive of our troops. My husband was beginning to think that no one really cared until I made him read a few of the posts on here. I know it would really help some of the other people here to know as well.