Several years ago, we were coming back from the American Legion Hall on
Memorial Day. I was in American Legion uniform having served in the
firing detail at the local cemetery. We had gone into the local
Stop&Rob for one thing or another (which put me in foul mood to
begin with) and at the check-out, Little Miss TeenAmerica wannabe at the
register wished me a "Happy Memorial Day".
And I unloaded on her, I didn't yell or raise my voice but said 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 for 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 or some G-d forsaken desert. They died horrible, agonizing
deaths so you could go to the mall and shop without having worry about
whether you were in the whites or blacks section, to show your papieren
bitte, or ask in Japanese to buy worthless, rancid, Russian bread and
then worry about being shot as a spy on your way home. 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 ? There are about 2 dozen in Europe, there's
another big one on Oahu in Hawaii. There are quite few here in the US
from the Revoluntionary War to the present, and every American's knees
should become weak and tears should flow when they visit those places on
Because there's no way any of us have "Earned This"."