Memorial Day 2010
We come to grips with our mixed feelings over time. When we were kids, we protested the war in Viet Nam. Each year since, we better appreciate the sacrifice of our brothers, neighbors, friends who died there.
The old veteran of the Bulge, a survivor when others didn't, remembers them more clearly with each passing year. The years spent paying off the mortgage have given way to the feelings long suppressed. He hopes that we will continue to remember the war dead, all of them, even after he's gone.
I wonder if all the young men and women today will think about others who cared enough to die for something. I wonder if they can even imagine anything mattering enough to die for. Soldiers gave no thought to work/life balance. Those who will never know any risk to their well-being greater than carpal tunnel syndrome should pay particular attention to Memorial Day. It's the closest they will ever come to understanding what it means to sacrifice.
Addendum: Almost as if on cue, I came upon this post by Max Kennerly. The primary subject, the sale of a home out from under an active duty soldier, was one on my list of things to write about, but never made it to the top. Max handles the issues adeptly. But before he ends his post, he adds a little bit on the backend that disturbed me, especially today. After referencing the New York Times Magazine story about the Slackoisie, he writes:
I normally refrain from reading, much less commenting about, such drivel, but the "nation of wimps" comment deserves a response.
Drivel is how one describes unpleasant reality that one would prefer to ignore than address in the hope it goes away.
The same day that story was published, Army Pfc. Christopher R. Barton, 22, died in Khowst province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.
"Nation of wimps?"
Private Barton died. How Max can extrapolate his sacrifice to bolster the bravery of every flip-flopped kid sipping a latte in Starbucks and brooding over work/life balance is outrageous. It's self-aggrandizing connections like this that strike fear in my heart for the future.
"Nation of wimps?"
Yes, and shameless ones at that. Private Barton's sacrifie does not make you brave, Max. And on Memorial Day?