Memorial Day 2007
How should Memorial Day be celebrated? I am not sure, as a veteran, and fortunately as a leader who has not lost a man in this miserable conflict, I can't tell you. I did think of all who have died to date, and I even said a prayer for them before I rolled out yesterday. But, in catching the fleeting news glimpses on AFN while I was in the chow hall, it seems as if those on the campaign trail are using this day to prove some particular point. I couldn't tell you how they should be observing Memorial Day, but I have a better grasp of how they should NOT be observing it.
The G.I. is not a rope to be tugged back and forth for political gain. The G.I. should not be spoken of as if he is a child, or a hapless mute. The G.I. should not be spoken FOR, save by his military leaders. All of this you support the troops, or you do not support the troops is not done in the best interest of the troops, it is done in the interest of proving a particular point. There are some on the right who tout their own prior military service as if it is a badge of entitlement that they, and they alone are qualified to speak about the correct course of action. There are those on the left who are quick to start braying, "I told you so", after another one of us falls. I saw a snippet of a news video from some time ago where a guy was speaking of the rapidly approaching day when the combat deaths would eclipse the number who were killed on 9/11. And I swear to God, he was literally leering across the desk at the commentator, unable to stifle his glee, as he rightly predicted that the eclipse would happen in a month. Had we gone to that number right below the eclipse and held their for months, I can only imagine that he would be waking up every day in hopes that he could say, "There is another death....I told you so!"
Detractor...Apologist...no matter what, or who you are, realize what the day is for. This is the day for them. For those guys who are not going to see how the last page in this terrible story is going to pay out. For the guys that died way before them in decades and centuries past in horrible dark places. Those that never saw their families again. Those that struggled and sacrificed for the men on their left and right, in hopes that one last desperate action would make a difference. I can't tell you how you should memorialize them. I am not sure if I am going about it the correct way myself. But, I do know one thing. I wish I could memorize the name of every service member who has fallen, just so I could say. Thanks Brother, Thanks Sister.....travel well.
[Me covering the OPORDER on Memorial Day]
[Me and members of my platoon at the end of another successful patrol this one on Memorial Day]