Today is Monday, May 28th, 2012. The events of the weekend are finished. The Indianapolis 500 has been run and Rolling Thunder's veterans have made their annual ride, the blasting of their engines sending a message to our missing and captive soldiers that they will not be forgotten - and a warning to their captors to beware, as we as a nation will NEVER forget.
Now it is Memorial Day, and although there will backyard barbecues and parades galore, Memorial Day is the most solemn day of this "three day weekend".
Amid all this solemnety, wafting through the nation like a stray odor from a sewage plant, is of course the belittlement of the honoring of our fallen warriors. It's all very high-minded, of course. One particularly galling comment I heard was some idiot who said he was leery of using the word "hero" because it "aggrandizes warfare".
The people who say these things are the kind of people who deplored the World War II Memorial, saying things like it is "an expression of fascism"and decried the addition of the statue of the soldiers to the Vietnam Memorial, saying it "detracted from the clean and simple lines" of the Memorial (but who in reality wanted a black, depressing ditch - for that is how they percieve The Wall - to constantly remind everyone of the "shame" of a war we "lost". The statue reminds people of that disgusting heroism that the Left so despises (when applied to people other than our enemies, of course. to them the Viet Cong were "heroic".)
It is one huge myth, beloved of the Left, that the United States "lost" the Vietnam War. They love to point to the famous picture of the U.S. Embassy being evacuated as a portrayal of our troops cutting and running before the onslaught of the victorious Communists.
In fact, we pulled out of Vietnam leaving a stable and legitimate government in the South in late 1972. The refusal of the Leftists in Congress to send armament and monetary aid to the new government doomed them to be overrun by the Communists and engendered a blood-bath and a tyranny. Our troops who fought in Vietnam were and are HEROES, and they vanquished the Viet-Cong.
If there is any cause for anyone to be called "baby-killer"; if there is any shame to be attached to the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, then it attaches to the Congressmen and Senators who voted to pull the rug out from under a nation our fighting men had fought to keep free.
I myself served in the United States Air Force during a portion of that conflict. But I feel a bit sheepish to admit that my duty stations during that time were in the Panama Canal Zone and Andrews AFB in Maryland as a member of the 24th and 1002nd Security Police Squadrons, respectively. When I make mention of this fact while among veterans of The Nam, I am invariably reminded that "All gave some, and some gave all". Thanks for the kind words, guys, but some gave a lot more "some" than others. Still, my Honorable Discharge is my proudest posession.
I find it risible in the extreme when some "peacenik" type mouths the garbage that he is "anti-war". Who in his right mind, especially the soldier, is desirous of war? Indeed as Douglas MacArthur said, no one desires peace so much as the soldier.
One of the worst times in history to be an American soldier was during the D-Day landings in Normandy. Whole landing craft full of young troopers were slaughtered by machine-gun fire before they had even gotten out of the boat. But they kept coming, and there were too many for the German guns to kill them all. They did not cower and they did not run except that they ran straight for the enemy. You can bet your soul that not one of them relished the experience and that every one of them wished they were someplace else a tad quieter. Yet how horrible would have been the fate of the world without the heroism and sacrafice that day of the American soldier?
Our soldiers today stand ready to follow and indeed follow daily orders that put them in places and situations where they may well be killed. And they do it willingly and better than any armed force on this planet. They do it out of love of country and freedom, and without them we would have neither.
And today we remember the fallen, and honor those who serve and have served. When you bite into that burger, when you take a trip somewhere without asking anyone if you may go, when especially you criticize the government or otherwise express your opinion, knowing that no one may prevent you from or punish you for doing so, remember the heroes whose blood purchased and guard that right for you.
I am going to try to supply a link to "The Changing of the Guard", a poem I wrote in 1997. If it doesn't work, it can be pulled up in this blog's search box:
It may be considered a cliche' by some, but it is so true:
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE