Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Postscript

Memorial Day. It's a great chance to relax, go see a parade, maybe go camping as I did; an unofficial kicking off of summer fun. While enjoying the day's recreational possibilities, however, it is worthwhile to remember why the holiday exists: to remember the sacrifices of those who've served our country, and those who continue to do so.

To be honest, I sometimes regret that I never served in the military. I don't have a great desire to risk life and limb in some godforsaken hole in the Middle East, but I have great admiration for those who do so. In many ways they represent this country's greatest qualities. Everytime I hear about another serviceman dying over there, something hurts within me. Until recently, my own brother was in Baghdad, and I see him in every GI killed by a suicide bomber, RPG, roadside IED, and helicopter crash. I can feel the anguish suffered by every parent, sibling, and friend - to say nothing of the men serving alongside him.

This has been played out many times through our country's history, from the Revolution to WWII to Vietnam. This is, however, the first time we've suffered casualties in the thousands in almost 35 years, and it brings home the sacrifices of the brave men throughout history who've helped bring about the nation we live in today.

Clint over at The Outer Marker makes a good point about people here taking their carefree lifestyles for granted; it's ironic that the reason we can do so is because of men and women who gave up that lifestyle to face death on a windswept beach, a foxhole, a jungle, or a wadi. To those who've served, those who came back and those who didn't, those who gave their sons and daughters, those who fought out of patriotism or for pure survival or for the man next to you: Thank You. There are many here who do not take you for granted.