Memorial Day Awakening

Memorial Day

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Growing up I remember sitting in front of the television, watching Fred Hilligues tell us about another offensive, another wave of soldiers who died in Viet Nam. In those days, we all watched the news. We all knew where our brothers and neighbors and cousins were deployed. We all prayed. We all believe in our government.

That gradually changed.

Our boys did not come home.

The government did not welcome them, receive them or recognize them.

We started counting the dead.

Parents stopped believing in their government and their children followed suit.

We stopped praying.

We understood the war was a political event and our dead were the price we paid.

Today, when a solider dies, they are called “Troops”. Six US troops died today. A troop is an elusive entity. In reality, six young men died today. The government had to find a way to make the public forget that the dead were our boys and girls.

Over 51,000 soldiers died in Viet Nam.
The causality count in Iraq since 2003 is more than 100,000.

I believe we must honor those who have died for our country AND I believe we must question why any more of our young are sent into battle.

Viet Nam Veterans Memorial–  www.vvmf.org

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11 thoughts on “Memorial Day Awakening

  1. I wasn’t living here then and didn’t totally understand /put my finger on it but it got clearer when I became older and moved here. The war, the deaths, the disillusion, the cynicism, the distrust. Watergate. Now, to forget we wrap ourselves in euphemisms, shopping and eating. It’s the subject of my post for tomorrow.
    Thanks, Marge!

  2. Thank you Marge for the perfect point: Troops – what an amorphous word for human beings, whether alive or not. I watched the casualty counts during the Vietnam War – and to this day I thank and honor those who were there. I thank individual vets when I meet them. I lost friends to that war. I watched other friends return and withdraw into their own little worlds of sadness, terror and avoidance. I question all war. I do not believe that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is exclusive to individual integrity or individual conscience. In any language, in any religion, the spiritual request is the same. Thank you for this post… as a “protestor” I did not see protests as a slap in the face to soldiers – I see it as support for their lives and the lives of their families and loved ones.

    • I agree that by protesting, we are questioning the government who has their own agenda. The protesters were the ones to shine the light on the unethical practices our government was promoting. A big thanks to our fallen warriors and veterans!

  3. I found the term «troops» utterly confusing when I first came here and started watching/listening to the news. Elusive indeed.

    Wonderful post. Thank you.

  4. Yes, using the word Troops was in the same category as not allowing the media to show caskets returning from Iraq. If the public doesn’t see the 100,000 caskets maybe they don’t exist? Question authority at all times!

    • Yes, I remember that debate … about whether to show the caskets. Here, in Canada, they have something, outside Toronto … it’s called [now] ‘Highway of Heroes’. Each time a soldier comes home in a casket, the body is first taken to … I don’t know …medical examiner or so, but never mind … that ride from the airport on Highway 401. Lots and lots of people gather on a viaduct to salute them… http://www.rock95.com/Images/hwy%20heroes.jpg

  5. Pingback: Memorial Day Should be Outlawed | Inside & Out

  6. Pingback: Memorial Day Should be OUTLAWED « Inside Out Cafe

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