Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Memorial Day

Several years ago, we were coming back from the American Legion Hall on Memorial Day.  I was in my American Legion uniform, having served in the Honor Guard/Firing Detail detail at the local cemetery for our Memorial Day Observation.  On the way home we had gone into the local Stop&Rob for one thing or another (which put me in bad mood to begin with) and at the check-out the Miss TeenAmericaWannabe at the register wished me a "Happy Memorial Day"

And I unloaded on her.

I didn't yell
or raise my voice
but said this
through tightly clenched teeth:

"There is one NOT g-ddamned thing "Happy" about Memorial Day.  Everyone in this country that isn't in uniform honoring our war dead had damn well be better dressed in black mourning clothes.   I just got back from the cemetery where we paid our respects and begged G-d to care of those 327 mostly 18-20 year old kids who died in mud filled trenches; freezing European forests; crappy little dots of islands; hot, shitty jungles, on some remote mountain or in some G-dforsaken desert.  They died horrible, agonizing deaths all so you could go to the mall and shop without having worry about whether you were in the whites or blacks section, having to show your papieren, bitte and do it in Japanese to buy rancid Russian bread and then worry about being shot as a spy on your way home while wearing your burka.

"Those people gave you their everything for what you have today.

"Look around and ask if you want for anything, because I know those poor bastards would feel cheated if you did.  If you saw Saving Private Ryan, then you probably missed the single most important  lesson of that entire movie.   Remember that cemetery at the end ?  There are about two dozen in Europe, there's another big one on Oahu in Hawaii.  There are quite few here in the US from the Revolutionary War on, and every American's knees should become weak and tears should flow when they visit those places on Memorial Day.

"Because there's no way any of us have "Earned This".

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