Monday, May 28, 2007

Decoration Day

Today is a USA holiday that when I was a kid went by a different name, but today is known as Memorial Day. Sadly it has had many opportunities to add to the ranks of observed.

War of the Republic, War between the States, Spanish American War, Great War, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Beirut, current Actions. And others that have slipped from the history books.

Please, before you get offended by the following, remember that I don't believe that 2 people with opposing viewpoints are wrong/right. I don't have to be right. Your being Right doesn't make me Wrong. These are just my thoughts on this subject.

It is popular to bash military actions, government decisions, and by extension, the Men and Women who Serve. It's been that way since the Vegans and Meateaters chose sides with Cain and Abel.

On this day, I chose to ignore the Big Labels, and think instead on the people who fell. Why did they fall? Because they Served. Why do people Serve? There is broad spectrum to that answer.

Patriots - with the capital P - because the US of A is great and anyone who says differently needs to be smashed.
Draftees - with the capital Oh Sh-t - their number was pulled and they had to go.

And in between - so many reasons - because 2nd sons didn't have any way to make money, because there weren't any jobs and the military gave room and board, because all your friends did it, because your friends died and someone had to take their place, because it got you out of a one horse town, because it made your parents proud, because the check would support your wife and child, because people were dying and you had skills that could help. Rational, pragmatic thought and overwhelming emotion.

Service is an odd job. A job in which one of the hazards is death or dismemberment not just boredom or carpal tunnel. A job which may put you through psychological terrors unlike any other. Where an -ssh-le boss may get you killed, not just give you TMJ. Or your boss may save your life, instead of a bonus check. Where, weirdly, your Aptitude Test determines your training...not your interest. And person dies so that others may come home.

When I think of the sheer numbers who died for War, it's overwhelming. So on this day I prefer to think of Why they did it, rather than for What.

1 comment:

ChelleC said...

Beautiful and well-thought-out sentiments. No matter what one's position on war, you bring out a powerful point that in the service, everything has serious and life-changing repercussions. I feel tremendous gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve, no matter what their reasons.