Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Being the resident veteran posting here I feel some sort of obligation to write something to commemorate this Memorial Day. It is something that for a variety of reasons I have been resisting. You see Memorial Day has a far deeper meaning for me, and for all of those who have served, then those that haven't. That isn't meant as a criticism. It is the same feeling an Olympic athlete would have for those who nod their heads and try to convey that they understand the sacrifices required to become a world class athlete and represent your country on an international stage.

For those who have not shared the experience there is no way to adequately convey the trials and tribulations of the journey.

I live daily with the memories of those who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Not in the daily brooding, maudlin way, but often I am reminded of those whom I served with who are no longer with us. I spent my youth and early middle age firmly ensconced in the military lifestyle, and as such I was surrounded by the symbols and stories of those who served. Whether it was from the various facilities on military installations named in honor of those who gave the last full measure or it was the daily interaction with those who had "been there, done that".

I am glad that Americans are given a day to reflect on the sacrifice of those who have fallen in the service to their country, but I am also reminded that for most the deeper meaning of this day can not be fully appreciated.

And I am alright with that. That is why these men and women served and we honor their memory.

Forgive a little detour here, but please indulge me. Something that has been bothering me since yesterday.

Yesterday there was a little car race in Indianapolis, IN. They billed it has the great American race and they made the obligatory acknowledgment of those who died in defense of the country. There was Taps, the military color guard and the roaring fly by. There was no national anthem. At a venue deep in the heart of America, at an event billed as the "Great American Race" and filled with all of the symbolism of what makes this country great there was no 'Star Spangled Banner' to be heard.

And that made me sad.

The NASCAR race later in the day made up for all of that, but I was left with the realization that I had never noticed before whether they play the national anthem for the Indianapolis 500 before or if it simply wasn't shown on television.

So anyway, people much more eloquent then me will say wonderful things over this Memorial Day, some of those things too may wind up be memorable, but for me the memories are there always. Not always in the forefront, because I force them to the back, but there none the less. Sometimes waiting to pop out at the most unexpected moment.

Finally for those that gave their lives, continue to rest in peace. You have done your duty and helped to preserve this republic. I know it looks ugly at times, and sometimes it appears ready to burst apart, but by your sacrifice you have bought this country the time it needs to work out this whole democracy thing. Today's fallen are doing the same thing for foreign lands. Their sacrifice is not in vain and that is what we should convey on this Memorial Day.

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