May 27, 2013 at 10:44 am #1303438
Yes, we remember, and we appreciate each and every one of our service men and women who gave their lives for our country.
But for us the citizenry, just remembering and saying 'thanks' is NOT enough!
How about we PROMISE never again to go war whooping — and sending 6,000 young Americans to their deaths in dubious wars? How about if we all remain sober — and hold our leadership accountable — to ensure that the next war we fight is truly, truly the last resort?
Yes, I am talking to the 70% of our fellow Americans who supported invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan — countries that we knew little about — and cared even less!!!
Talk is cheap. And so is slapping on bumper stickers! Every single one of our soldiers is a volunteer. We need to change our behavior — if we truly cherish their lives!May 27, 2013 at 11:29 am #1990122
Katharina LångstrumpBPL Member
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
So very well said Ben! Thanks for taking the time to post this.
Ps. I am not a good writer in English and appreciate those who are and take the time to write meaningful posts.May 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm #1990139
I would like to add that I wrote the above not to start a debate about the merits or demerits of any particular war — but to call our attention to our penchant for wars. Seriously, how many wars have we fought since WWII? And all of them were truly fought as a last resort?
Viewed in this light, I can't think of a greater disservice that we the citizenry have imposed on our men and women in the armed services! Something to ponder on this day of sober remembrance.May 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm #1990140
Or we could just say thanks unconditionally to the vets and save the political hoopla for another day.May 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm #1990144
"Or we could just say thanks unconditionally to the vets and save the political hoopla for another day."
+1May 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm #1990147
Ian and Doug:
How many wars have we fought since WWII? All of them truly the last resort?
Given what has continued to transpire, I do not believe Memorial Day is just for 'feeling the warm glow' about the sacrifices that others have made for us. Why? Because collectively, we all had a hand in putting them right in harm's way — so casually and needlessly — time and time again!May 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm #1990148
Sounds good Ben. I hope you have a wonderful day.May 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm #1990155
Ken T.BPL Member
Let's not overlook the civilian casualties. Every death from violence is a wasted life.
I truly think Americans would have a whole other outlook on war if we had it here, instead of over there.May 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm #1990475
@hhopeLocale: East Bay
Military casualties are the price of empire, and since members / citizens of the empire benefit from the global actions of the military of the empire, us in this case, often without any awareness of that fact, if you like the benefits, like wealth, enjoying a relatively stable fiat global currency, the US dollar, actually earning a living wage when you work, and easy access to material resources etc, access to cheap petroleum to get you to the trailheads and work, paid for with debt the world has to buy because there's no plan b at the moment, and the freedom/luxury to worry about the weight of ul backpacking gear etc, then you should be grateful for those who fight to maintain the empire and the benefits that flow from that. You know the idea, sort of like the protesters who drove up in cars to the 'no blood for oil' demonstrations, never seeing the irony in their actions, etc. I'm not a fan of empires but I don't pretend I don't live in one and that I don't benefit, so hats off I guess.
It's also worth remembering that empires fall, particularly when they do the typical things that they do as they hit their apex and start to disintegrate, then lose the ability to provide their cores the above benefits, which is roughly where we are now. Making friends is however a better long term strategy than making enemies, just ask China and watch what we do vs what they do globally. It's also, oddly, far cheaper, and more cost effective, but doesn't cater to as many entrenched interests, which are of course another reason empires tend to break apart, they get too corrupt.May 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm #1990517
I'm not going to address the political aspects of this thread but I do want to share what Memorial Day means to me.
A few years ago, I was the Senior Vice Commander for our local VFW post. This was a brand new post which needed a name. The typical naming convention is to name a new post after one or two service members who were KIA. During this process, I had the privilege of meeting two Gold Star Mothers and one father to ask their permission. Here is the story of my VFW Post's namesake….
Spc Schmunk was from a small town in Washington. He enlisted into the Washington State Army National Guard and was later deployed to Iraq. While he was driving a Humvee, his platoon was ambushed. He could have stayed in the Humvee which was armored and survived but he put himself into harm’s way to back up his buddies. He was cut down almost immediately. He is survived by his mother.
Sgt Nelson was in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. While on a patrol, he was shot in the thigh which presumably severed his femoral artery and subsequently bled to death. He is survived by his mother and father.
To me, Memorial Day isn't about "basking in the glow" of our military's accomplishments. It is a day to mourn and honor those who didn't come back home.
Thanks to all BPL members who answered the call. Sadly I can’t personally thank those who deserve my deepest gratitude as they didn’t come home.May 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm #1990543
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
nmMay 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm #1990557
"Lest Ian misinterpret my comments as disrespectful.."
I'm not offended by anything I read here and I don't find them necessarily disrespectful in a vacuum. I don't even necessarily disagree with the underlying theme, at least not 100%.
There are certain days when the sting of losing a loved one in combat is worse than others but especially on a day dedicated to honoring their memory. There are a number of blogs and editorials which have called the wars in Iraq and surprisingly enough Afghanistan pointless. I can't imagine how painful it must be to read that when you've lost a child, spouse, or parent in one of those conflicts.
I've lost friends and family but not to combat so I'm not trying to misrepresent my position here. My only point is that there are 364 other days of the year for these rants and maybe leaving Memorial Day alone might be in better taste imho.
Free country. Say whatever you want.May 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm #1990568
"My only point is that there are 364 other days of the year for these rants and maybe leaving Memorial Day alone might be in better taste imho."
Still in complete agreement with Ian here. I think it's somewhat disingenuous to say that you respect the sacrifices of our fallen service members, but on the one day set aside to honor those sacrifices, you just can't help but push your political perspective into the discussion.May 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm #1990604
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I think it's somewhat disingenuous to say that you respect the sacrifices of our fallen service members, but on the one day set aside to honor those sacrifices, you just can't help but push your political perspective into the discussion."
Which is exactly why I did not comment yesterday which, if I'm not mistaken, was Memorial Day. Today is one of the other 364 that Ian mentioned. Or is there an buffer zone of x days to be observed? If so, I will gladly retract my comment. On second thought, I will do so anyway. Chaff just isn't worth upsetting folks, especially those with a military background. You know where I stand anyway, Doug.May 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm #1990622
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Perhaps a separate post, as well as your not-on-memorial-day strategy, would have left the flowers on the graves undisturbed.
Semper FiMay 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm #1990626
Ok guys….. bring it in….. group hug time….
……….. who just touched my butt?May 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm #1990630
"……….. who just touched my butt?"
Uhhhhhhhhh, that was my swiss army knife. Yeah, that's it, my knife…..May 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm #1990640
"You know where I stand anyway, Doug."
I do Tom, you certainly didn't upset me, and today is one of the other 364. My comment was an unfortunate queue placement, it was not directed at you.May 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm #1990679
"There are certain days when the sting of losing a loved one in combat is worse than others but especially on a day dedicated to honoring their memory."
Ian — it is in the spirit of remembrance, gratitude — and pain — that I started this post — in the genuine desire that we — together — do what we can to minimize the sting of future losses…
I picture our war dead — receiving our gratitude — but also challenging us to keep this country great and make their sacrifices worthwhile. Of course we want to express gratitude — but it just seems like we need to think about more than just saying "thanks" — esp. on Memorial Day.
To say that we give thanks for the supreme sacrifices — and we give thoughts to treating war with the utmost sobriety — is "pushing a political agenda" — then I really think that is a sad missing of the point. To me, the best way to honor our dead — and cherish the lives of those currently serving — is to express BOTH gratitude for past sacrifices AND vigilance against future dubious wars.
The sacrifices of our war dead are as noble as war itself is evil. It is fitting that we soberly acknowledge both on Memorial Day.May 28, 2013 at 11:36 pm #1990689
You bring up some interesting and valid points but I've nothing else to add so in the interest of not talking in circles I'll bow out of this one.
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