In the past Memorial Day postings, I have named my friends and comrades who have fallen in combat and I have ranted about not making this day nothing more than a day for BBQs an store sales. As you have seen, those posts have all been re-visited today. So now I am going to talk about something a little different.
A friend of mine really brought a thought forward for me. There is nothing “Happy” about this day. It should not be a HAPPY Memorial Day at all. The purpose of this day is to remember the dead, the fallen, the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I cannot plead with you enough not to forget that.
Please don’t be as STUPID as some of our elected representatives who have been put in positions of leadership and mix this day up with Veteran’s Day.
Back on May 27th, the 2nd in line to be President of the United States, Speaker of the House Pelosi said the following:
“On Memorial Day, America will come together and honor all who served our nation in uniform,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech, noting the symbolic timing of the debate. “I urge my colleagues to vote for the repeal of this discriminatory policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and make America more American.”
The only thing worse than mixing up Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day is using the day that is designated to honor those who have fallen in combat as a F@#$@#%* pedestal to push your partisan political agenda. Were all those who have died to make this country gay? I don’t think so, in fact I have had the honor of knowing more than a few who have made the sacrifice and I can tell you they were in no way gay.
I digressed from my original topic which was to talk about why this is not a “Happy” day per-se. It is a solemn and somber day where all Americans (whether you have known a family or friend who has fallen in service of this country or not) should remember those who have fallen. The feelings you should have today are the same you should have when you walk the deadly battlefields of the civil war, or the way you feel if you have ever walked in the gas chambers of Dachau, or in the best example I can give the way you feel when you walk through the Gardens of Stone at Arlington. It is “MEMORIAL” day because we are in remembrance.
So if not the word “happy” then what is the proper word? Maybe just “memorial day”, or as one friend suggested “honor memorial day”, or like the Alamo you should say “Remember Memorial Day”. I am not sure of the proper word to use or what sounds best. I think it depends on each person, where you are, and the context you use it in. I think if you find yourself in a place that requires you to say something, you will find it in your heart to know what should be said. This is assuming that you remember, and don’t forget what this day is for.
For me, I am finding myself traveling today. It is very unfortunate that I could not perform my standard ritual of going to visit a few of my past soldiers today. I hope their families will forgive me. I am traveling today and the cemeteries were not opened this morning when I left. I am traveling on this holiday for work. I am traveling so this week I can do my part to hopefully keep a few out of the remembrance rituals of families in the future. I am going to be working with soldiers all week in order to record and document their hardened and painful lessons learned in combat so that those can be passed to others and to those that make things for the Army.
I know it is not the same as visiting my past soldiers as I have always done. But I guess in my mind I am thinking that by traveling today and doing what I will be doing this week there may be some slight chance that some unknown family in the future who’s loved one will reap the benefits from my work this week will be able to spend the day with that loved one alive and not visiting their gravesite.
I have a lot of friends that have fallen at the hands of our enemies and I can never visit them all on this somber day, but I have to think of their lives, our times together and the sacrifices they made. So on this day, those who rest near where I live will have to be in my thoughts and prayers today also. They are always on my mind and with me in spirit as I have felt them talk to me and me to them. So today after I get to where I am going, I will be on my knees praying to the almighty Jumpmaster in the sky and to my fallen brothers. And when I get back home after work is done, I will be sure to pay a visit to tell them about what has been happening since the last time we talked.
Bouhammer Honor Roll:
PFC Thomas Johnson – Vietnam
SGT Ed Kutz – Operation Desert Storm
SGT Ronald Randazzo – Operation Desert Storm
SGT David Roustum – Operation Iraqi Freedom
PFC Ben Scheuster – Operation Iraqi Freedom
SGM Jeff McLochlin – Operation Enduring Freedom
MSG Bernard Deghand – Operation Enduring Freedom
SPC Nelson Rodriguez – Operation Enduring Freedom
Rest in Peace Warriors, we will meet on the battlefield again one day.
Back on July 25th, 2006 I wrote about the night that 1SG Christopher Rafferty left this world. A few weeks ago I had the honor of going to visit him and introduce myself. We had a good chat. I knew he was in section 60 and I found him tucked in by a nice big shade tree.
Today when I was up on that FOB, I walked right by if not almost on top of the exact spot where 1SG Rafferty was hit. I slowed down a little and looked around to try and imagine what his last visions were. I know what he was doing when he got hit, what he was wearing and why he was doing it. He was DOING HIS JOB, organizing his unit and base to respond to an attack. He was not hiding under a desk or in a bunker, he was leading his men, and Thank GOD he was. Thank GOD he was doing his job and what I am sure he loved to do.
Take Care Top, I hope to meet you on the other side; a long time from now.
I encourage you to go read the whole posting at Farewell Top .
As I sit here on the porch of a cabin, admiring the scenic beauty of upstate New York I can’t help myself from reflecting on the importance of Memorial Day. As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a fan of American history, everyday is Memorial Day for me. However, I also understand that everyone isn’t a history buff at heart and the average citizen likes the Memorial Day holiday because of the 3 day weekend, Indy 500, and this weekend unofficially kicks off the summer season. Over the years I have “evolved” to accept the average citizen’s view of this weekend but I do like to take opportunities to educate my fellow ignorant Americans. Below is a very brief historical background about Memorial Day.
At the end of the Civil War, communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were relatively few veterans of the Union Army who were buried in the South. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866, at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery. The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents’ Day; Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.
We now honor the service members who have been killed in all of our nation’s wars, not just the Civil War. Whatever activities you partake in this weekend, please take a few minutes to at least say thank you to our great Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have the freedoms and pleasures to do whatever we want. I know I will…
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