Memorial Day Thoughts and Reads
Today is Memorial Day. It is just another holiday in the world but here it is something else. It is a time to remember those who don't get to go home. I knew some of them, I still remember them, I will never forget them. I don't talk about them because it is easier to write than to talk. I don't get teary eyed and don't shake a little. I don't feel my eyes swell up with barely contained tears. I don't feel the urge to get away so no one will see me or try to get me to say what I feel.
I struggled a bit wondering if I would write anything today. I have been melancholy lately and I think it is partially because of this. My visit last week with friends from the 1st CAV made me start to think a lot about why I am still here. They came for an advance visit and I was really happy to see them.
This year we went all out as usual for the troops with a whole pig roast and literally tons of meat being BBQ'd. I went early to the DFAC to get some pics of the preparation that is going on and I took hundreds but the photo I put in here says what this is all about.
The plate and bowl are turned upside down. The chair leans against the table. The place setting is undisturbed. It is a place for the soldiers who are not with us anymore to sit. It is a place to honor them and their memories. It was set up by another soldier, not a contractor, or a TCN worker. It was put there by an E-8. It is to remind us that Memorial Day is about more than BBQ and beer bashes. It is about sacrafice and honor. It is about the debt we owe to those who came before us to preserve our way of life and it is about the debt we owe to those who most certainly will die in the days, months, and years to come in this war.
I read a lot of newspapers online every day to try and keep up with what is going on back in the land of the big PX. I read conservative papers, liberal papers, papers from big towns, and papers from small towns. One that I read every day is the New York Times (NYT).
I enjoy the quality of writing and the nationwide and worldwide scope that it delivers but generally I don't agree with the opinions that I read, especially Maureen Dowd. Today though I was surprised. Really surprised, pleasantly surprised, happy actually that I have finally read something that puts our experiences and efforts into a short essay which explains how we feel and how we want the world and our fellow Americans to see us. The writer is a Marine Major named owen Smith who has been here and has seen the bear up close. He states what I have been trying to get across for an entire year and a half of blogging.
Today I read what I want to say. Today of all papers the NYT has what I wanted to hear. The piece is called, The Troops Have Moved On. Quite simply folks, stop the arguing and the political wrangling and let them finish the job.
If you are interested here is the link to the article (NYT OpEd 29MAY2006) and to the website for the group Vets for Freedom.