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Missing The Memorial Day Point, Ain't We?
Yeah, it's a rant...
Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the unofficial beginning of summer, an excuse for retailers to lower their prices slightly to take advantage of the increased volume, and an opportunity for many to sleep late. There will be parades today—I might take my great-grandson to one, and the service afterwards. I'll also sleep late and take advantage of at least one Memorial Day sale to get some lumber and maybe some groceries.
In 2018, I went up to the VA Hospital to see a buddy of mine—one of my oldest friends—on Memorial Day. His Memorial Day "celebration" for his 20+ years of service might have been a lung transplant. He got a laurel-and-hearty handshake to thank him for his lifetime of service, and the sacrifice of his health, wealth and welfare for the freedom of the Republic. He died that October.
We will find a sea of flags in cemeteries honoring the men and women who served their country like my buddy. Many made the ultimate sacrifice far away. At least twenty people I know, who I served with, were among them. People have accused many others of crimes committed by others in conflicts they didn't understand. Others died of the flu, or food poisoning, or a ruptured appendix or, like my buddy, simple respiratory failure in a VA hospital. Most of those in those graves with the flags, you understand, died at home, peacefully of natural causes, with their families around them, having done their bit years or even decades before. Not all of them were blown apart by artillery, or cut in half by machine guns, or caught in the neck by a sniper's bullet, or met their Makers in any of the myriad ways people get killed in war.
None of them in those flag-bedecked graves made their sacrifices, so we would honor them with flags and five-year special financing after they did the Mortal Coil Shuffle. Nope. They did it so a day at the beach and sleeping late and special five-year financing would be possible in a free republic that has the luxury of putting a real estate mogul/reality TV star into the highest elected office in the land.
They paid that price so Americans can make their own mistakes, so we can not truly "honor" anything on the last Monday in May except our own welfare, if we are so inclined.
So thanks for your sacrifice, my comrades in arms, so the rest of us don’t have to sacrifice anything of ours.