Memorial Day. The official start of summer and the day people get confused with Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day.
As an actual live veteran, it’s always a bit disconcerting when people thank me for my service, today. (I don’t really like being thanked for my involvement in Viet Nam on any day – but that’s another story for another time.)
Today is the day that is set aside for remembering those who died in service to our country. Those who came back in flag-draped coffins – if they were lucky – and those who are buried in Gettysburg, Flanders Fields, along the road to Bataan, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Beirut, the bottom of every ocean on the planet… It’s an endless list.
1,400,000 Americans have been killed in wars since our country was founded. One Million, Four Hundred Thousand. Dead.From.War.
The day to thank Veterans like myself who came home alive, is Veteran’s Day – November 11th. It was originally Armistice Day – the day WWI ended. That was the war to end all wars. It is celebrated with Veterans Day Sales since it’s too cold to BBQ.
That would also be the day to thank the 1,500,000 wounded veterans and the day to kick yourself for voting for that Congressman or Senator who keeps voting to cut Veteran’s benefits while simultaneously pushing to go to war somewhere else. Yes, your vote counts.
The day to thank active duty military is Armed Forces Day – the third Saturday in May. Not many people know about this day because it’s on a Saturday and no one gets the day off.
It was on May 15th this year. It will be May 21st, next year. Mark your calendars.
So, on this Memorial Day, I toasted a couple of guys I knew who didn’t make it back from Viet Nam, and cooked a couple of steaks, a couple ears of corn – with chipotle butter – and potato salad, tomato salad, and watermelon. And a Coca-Cola from Mexico. You can really taste the difference.
Peach bars are gonna be cut for dessert in a while. I may be a left-leaning Liberal but I can still take part in American Traditions.
And something to ponder while you’re eating that burger or hot dog, or whatever…
Think about who profits from war. Think about how much money we spend every day on bombs and guns and our own weapons of mass destruction. And then think about why we don’t have any money to fix crumbling bridges or educate our children.
And think about how many more young lives we’re going to extinguish between now and Monday, May 30, 2016 – Memorial Day, next year.
We, The People could put a stop to it if we all started paying attention.