Memorial Day weekend is always filled with remembrances. The national press will cover national events such as the President laying a wreath at Arlington, and a other solemn events. Fox does more than most.
Local talk radio usually turns over part of their day to programs dedicated to the Fallen , usually about fundraising for some worthy veterans’ cause such as Fisher House.
But less we forget, this day, more than all the others, is also the days the rats come out to remind everyone that all those dead soldiers are victims, and not just of a bad foreign policy, Bush’s policy today but Nixon’s policy in Vietnam (funny, how Nixon, not Kennedy and Johnson started that war), but an unfair social system.
In Vietnam there was a draft, but today all our Fallen are volunteers today. The ultimate sacrifice. Nothing accidental about their choices, and it’s been that way since 911.
In Vietnam it was first, no education that caused young men to get to drafted, always spouted by kids who had escaped service with a college deferment. Then it was poverty, or race that caused poor men to enlist. Not love of country. Just looking for a job. Black men were disproportionately singled out.
Today, those arguments are the same; our volunteers are all victims of a cruel private economy that protects the wealthy and send young jobless men off to war.
Only today they are barked louder than ever over an anonymous internet, where there is never anyone within earshot to contradict.
Of course, if you want to know about the veterans, I invite you to visit iCasualties.org, where every single man and woman who died in Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire theater, by hostile fire or other means, is listed, by name, rank, service, place of death, manner of death, home of record, and unit.
What you’ll see is that California and Texas outweigh the other states, but blue states outnumber the south disproving the notion that most soldiers are redneck hayseeds. In fact, most of them are from towns and suburbs, not rural communities.
And if you dig deeper, and trace individual stories back to their hometown papers, and local television, you will find one important distinction between the fallen soldier and the foul-mouthed liar putting them down.
Almost always, the soldier had a family. A complete family, a mom and dad, brothers and sisters, neighbors. All who watched him grow up. No Cindy Sheehans.
So when someone barks out that story about the ‘victimhood” of our soldiers for all the wrong reasons, no education, no hope, no future, remind them of all the things that soldier had those liars don’t.
My uncle was a Vietnam veteran, and in the 1980s he traveled to Wilmington, NC to visit his old platoon sergeant, a black man, who had dealt for years with all the “black poverty” lies of his enlistment.
They went to a nice saloon for a beer, where some younger men were saying those same things rather loudly.
The old Sarge looked up and “Be careful where you brag those lies, boys, I know old men who could still carry you of here by your belts.”