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Memorial Day | Just in case you thought it was National BBQ Day

I must admit, in years past, especially in youth through young adult, Memorial Day was nothing more than a three-day weekend, barbeques, picnics and fun. And it still is… to an extent. For me, this year Memorial Day just feels different. I am opposed to war. Especially the one in Afghanistan right now. It seems as though we have lost the reason as to why our troops are there. How is our invasion presence helping protect America? Is that not what our military is for? To protect our country? It seems to have evolved into something else. Personally, I think the War on Terrorism is nothing more than a scare tactic being used on the US citizens in order to justify being in Afghanistan. But this post is about Memorial Day, so with that I will move on.

In being opposed to war in no way means that I do not support our troops – nor should anyone else. Just as we are all free to believe in what we want to believe in, those who joined our military forces were free to do so because of what they believe in. Those overseas risk their lives every single day doing what they feel is necessary for our freedom and for our country. And thousands will never walk on American soil again – both past through several wars, and present. Regardless of my own personal feelings of war, I completely 100% support our troops. Each fallen soldier has someone back home that loves them, and will forever miss them.

To all those troops and soldiers through history, and especially those fighting now, may you come home safe and sound. And to those who came home by other means… thank you.

Please bring our troops home before more soldiers fall.

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The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of ‘Cat,’ and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted.” Photo credit: Todd Heisler/The Rocky Mountain NewsThe entire Pulitzer Prize winning story may be read on my other post, “Jim Comes Home” – Haunting Pulitzer Prize winning photos and story of the fallen Marine, Second Lt. Jim Cathey” 

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vietnam memorial wall names

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memorial day cartoon honoring all dead all wars

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Second Lt. James Cathey’s body arrived at the Reno Airport in 2005. Photo credit: Todd Heisler/The Rocky Mountain NewsThe entire Pulitzer Prize winning story may be read on my other post, “Jim Comes Home” – Haunting Pulitzer Prize winning photos and story of the fallen Marine, Second Lt. Jim Cathey”

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RIP Cpl Conner T Lowry Judging by the look on his IED detection dog Gunner he will be deeply missed

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Two-year-old Tyler Miles wearing Marine dress blues and points at the flag-covered casket of his father, Marine Sergeant Sean H. Miles, who was killed in Iraq.
Sgt. Sean H. Miles, 28, of Midlothian, Va., was killed in action from small arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karmah, Iraq, 50 miles west of Baghdad, the Defense Department said.
Miles was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. He was in his first tour in Iraq, his family said.

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20 replies »

  1. I am a Viet Nam Vet. and I am opposed to war, any war, especially these so-called political wars we are mired in right now. Each year I run something on this day, I am waiting to run mine on Monday.

    As I read yours, that old song from the seventies rang in my ear ….

    WAR! What is it good for …. absolutely nuthin’.

    Nice job sis,

    DS

  2. I am the wife of a Viet Nam Vet. I have been reading you all day. I HATE WAR!!(sorry had to vent) every post has bought tears to my eyes…. You are a powerful well written voice… Again Thank You from a Loyal fan in Alabama

  3. My brother came home from Viet Nam but he left a big part of him there. He didn’t die from the injuries that earned him, his purple heart but the war did kill him. Thanks for doing this I felt him as I looked at the photo’s and read the captions.

        • Oh, my. I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I do not know one person who was the same person coming home from war, or overseas duty that they were when they left.

          Two members of my immediate family have served in the military. My father and one of my brothers. My father enlisted and served in the Navy and was stationed on a ship just off of the shores of Japan in the years following the end of World War II. Naturally I was not born as this was back in the mid to late 1940’s (I was born in 1964). But my father never talked about his time in the navy. Whenever I asked him about it, his answers were always very short, simple and had that tone of voice that said, “we don’t need to talk anymore about this.”

          Jeff, the youngest of my three older brothers, served in the army enlisting in 1976 immediately after graduating from high school. After boot camp, Jeff became an M.P. and was soon stationed in Korea to do his duty at the North/South border. He never spoke to me about his duty overseas. Although Jeff returned physically unharmed, he died over there in Korea. A carefree, happy young man left who knew how to smile, how to laugh, and how to pester the shit out of his little sister. In 1977 when we got to visit him before the army shipped him off, that was the last I saw of the brother I knew. Who returned was a complete stranger – a man full of anger and contempt who no longer laughed anymore. There weren’t any wars or “political actions” during the time when he served in the army, but he still came back a completely different person. It frightens me to think what it would have done to him if he had been in the army during war time. With his age it most likely would have been the Gulf War if he had stayed in the military.

          Then our soldiers return home only to be treated like shit after they leave the service.

    • My father is also a Viet Nam vet with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and I lived the war at home with him growing up. Neverless he is my hero, and am thankful for him. He still today never talks about it. On saturday the 26th he says,”today is the day i got injured”

  4. You’re right about them being treated like suit. On the 4th of July my brother would lock himself in the basement because the fireworks reminded him of being at war. He was home on leave one Christmas. My other brother got a polariod camera, he went take a picture of my brother sleeping. I ‘ll never forget how my brother had my other brother in a head lock about to snap his neck. My mother was calling his name and it seemed like forever before he realized where he was. His face was void of emotions. I can’t imagine the ugliness he saw. He didn’t talk about it until a year or two before he died and even then it was very little. I learner through my brother that’s still living that our brother was a tunnel rat. He went in the tunnels that were booby traps and/or hid the enemy. I watch all Vietnam movies and read what I can to try and understand what he went through.

    • Oh, god… how horrible. I’ve known one person from ‘Nam that was forever traumatized in a very similar manner. Not sure what he specifically did there, but on the 4th of July, he had to stay home, curtains closed, TV and radio up loud – anything to shut out the fireworks – audio and visual.

      A tunnel rat? From what I hear, you’re both very lucky he made it back. I have heard horror stories about that as well. I cannot imagine anything being all that great there, but if I recall correctly, one horrible thing about the tunnel rat is that occasionally there was some type of explosive down in there. Plus, could you imagine wondering if crawling around the next curve would find your nose to “nose” with the barrel of a rifle? No way.

  5. Whether you hate war or believe it is necessary (how can anyone like it?), it is necessary.

    Civilization does not exist as Humanity’s ‘natural state.’ It is made possible only by the elimination of those who oppose it. The only way to do this is to wage war. Not everyone will agree with the reasons for a particular war; this does not mean the reasons are not valid. Not everyone will believe that the war is ‘necessary’; this does not mean that it isn’t. Not every war will be for a popular cause; this does not mean that the cause is not worthy.

    I’ve done my time and I’ve done my tour -1166th MP Co.; OIF ’03-04- and even if I didn’t think what I was doing was necessary, getting to meet the people I helped allowed me to find my own reasons for my time there. I taught the young people of a nation that they could determine their own future.
    Sure, at the moment the Forces of Evil seem to be triumphing in the Middle East, but remember this- there is an entire generation of young Iraqis who have tasted Burger King. They have seen Victoria’s Secret catalogs. They discovered that a $10 spindle of DVD’s and some downloaded movies can make a man rich. They learned that a $2 carton of cigs can be sold for $5 if you find someone hard up- and he’ll be happy to buy them because they are $5 a pack at home!
    The children of Iraq have tasted Freedom, Free Enterprise and Individuality. Though their elders are now in power, these young people will not forget. They will remember their friends with the funny names that exposed them to another world… and they will look forward to the day they can join us in it.

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