Monday, May 26, 2014

Decoration Day 2014

My daughter is up early, as usual. She's just a natural morning person, and she loves to watch the "My Little Pony" reruns the kid channel shows before 9:00am.

I've been trained into getting up early ever since my first week in Reception Station, so I get up with her, and we cuddle, and then I go make coffee and check my e-mail and my Facebook feed.

Today, as always, there are all sorts of "inspirational" stories about soldiers and "tributes" to the recent veterans of our land wars in Asia, because, frankly, most civilians haven't the slightest fucking idea of the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day but they do feel a sort of vague sense of wanting to do the "right thing".

And I'm sitting here reading my friends Facebook posts and I can't help but think this as I read all the Memorial Day stuff.

I'm glad you're thinking about your soldiers today. At least for one day. I'm glad you are concerned about them and wish them well.

But, frankly, if you really care for and want to do something for American soldiers, you might want to be paying more attention to what your "leaders" are doing in your name. You might want to take a hard, hard look at those people who want to send your soldiers into harm's way to accomplish impossible missions like "fighting terrorism". You might want to work against electing morons who have a penchant for doing moronic things like starting land wars in Asia. You might want to think about what happens to those who don't die in wars, and that only those dead have seen an end to war. That the VA "scandal" is really that a coterie of grifters and sonsofbitches lied to you that war could be painless and cheap, waved a flag and frightened you with the idea of dusky terrorists under your bed and you bought it, or, at least, you did nothing to stop it, and now there are thousands of young men and women who will take the mental and physical wounds of those lies to their graves.

You might consider that the best way to honor our war dead is to make damn sure that our "leaders" have damn good reasons for making more of them.

I know most of you here already know that.

But you might take a moment to remind your friends who don't that they might take a moment to consider all that before they return to their regularly scheduled barbeque.

And, as always on Memorial Day, this.


Syrbal/Labrys said...

Isn't it a sad thing, that all I can think on Memorial Day is how much I miss the draft? Because at least then MORE of the American public kind of HAD to give a damn about where the government was starting a war and why.

Now...with the price of guns doing the talking being borne by such a small percentage of citizens, it's all car and mattress sales.

Leon said...

My main issue for Memorial Day and Remembrance Day is that the bulk of those who don't pay attention to history - they pay attention to soldiers and veterans for exactly one day before consigning them to the dumpster of political props or national penis measuring.

If we did a better job of getting people to appreciate history - all of it, not just military history, then mayhaps the overflow of (I feel rather empty) praises and then forget them again.

But this just might be me in Canada where very very few people have a personal connection to soldiers (whereas in the US it seems every second person knows someone personally in the service/veteran).

FDChief said...

The thing is, Leon, for all that there seems to me to be a vast ignorance of what those soldiers or veterans did and do.

Fortunately I haven't seen much of the usual "Land of the Free Because of the Brave" shit this year, or had more than one person talk about how they were "grateful for our peace (or freedom)" because I know damn well that I, and nobody else I served with, served or fought for peace or freedom.

We served our nation's interests, we fought where we were told was in our nation's interests, but peace and freedom had no damn thing to do with that. We were, most of us, imperial grunts in service to the policies of an empire-in-all-but-name.

There is honor and duty in that. But not in pretending it is what it isn't, and not in fooling oneself in what that service was for.

That so many of my fellow citizens do just irks the shit out of me and does so more every passing year.

FDChief said...

Labrys: I'm fortunate in having many friends who DO give a damn. But I'm also afraid that many of them have bought into the VFW/American Legion postcard of the Hero Veteran, Defender of Liberty.

I can ignore the commercial crap. It's the well-intentioned friends that silently grate me.

Lisa said...

There is honor and duty in that (= service). But not in pretending it is what it isn't, and not in fooling oneself in what that service was for.

Precisely -- it's the pretense that bites me.

FDChief said...

Yep. I have no problem with honoring the imperial legions for their work; one can serve well and honorably doing the business of empire, tho I personally don't like the idea and wish we'd knock it off.

But the pretense that we served "defending freedom" and "peace"...well...maybe the guys in the silos and the subs and the bombers that kept watch over the Soviets during the Cold War, yeah.

But those of us who killed Panamanians and Grenadians and Lebanese and Iraqis?

Not so much.

BigFred said...

Much love, Chief.

Anonymous said...

Found in a comment on FB page of "Occupy Marines"\