Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. It's a day to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty. A day to show respect and honor those who served the armed forces with courage and decency.

How many have fallen? How many have been wounded? How many have lost their minds or fight terrible demons because of war? How many have not been received well when they came home?
I was never in the service. My time for availability began in 1969, when the Vietnam War had already been exposed as a political ploy and not the honorable cause it was said to be. So I didn't go. A part of me will always feel the coward for that. It's not like I ran away, I just didn't volunteer and my number was only called once in those several years between 1969 and the end of the war. At the physical at Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn, a doctor who called me a wretched hippie whom he wouldn't want to see on a battlefield told me I had something like a brain tumor that was going to kill me and pronounced me 4F, unfit for duty, before sending me home.
He sent a lot of longhairs home that day. None of us were actually sick, we all found out later.
So I could have tried to enlist but didn't.
Others at Fort Hamilton that day passed the physical, went to basic, were shipped to Vietnam and never came home again. Or came home as damaged humans. I bow my head in respect for them. As I do for those who served in any war.
I only wish the wars didn't happen. Most of them don't need to happen. They are foisted upon a patriotic public as necessary by a handful of people who stand to profit greatly: In Vietnam it was people looking for oil, cheap labor and a whole new region of the world which might start buying their products.
In Iraq it was pushed on us by people who claimed Saddam Hussein might be helping al Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction. We knew beforehand there were no WMD's. And those who follow politics knew that if Osama bin Laden ever set foot in Iraq, Hussein would have had him drawn and quartered. But still, there was the prospect of all that oil, and there was money to be made by people selling parts for the war machine, and a president who wanted to look good to his dad. And in the end they held sway.
Like Vietnam, those looking to profit in Iraq sold out thousands and thousands of very brave young men and women for their own personal greed or need. That does not diminish the depth of the bravery of those men and women. I haven't the courage to do what they did.
If I had the right, I'd salute them. I haven't that right. I will still honor them.

4 comments:

Tom Huckabee said...

Well said.

Tom Huckabee said...

Well said.

Unknown said...

I was following this blog a lot, now its been real quiet for almost a month and half. What happened?

Piers Alder said...

Anyone know where Peter is?