Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Honor, Sacrifice, Duty.

On the bottom shelf in my library -- the shelf that holds various oversize coffee-table books -- there is a seldom-opened tome that offers images from the Viet Nam war. about 2/3rds of the way through that book, on the left-hand side, there is a black-and-white picture of six young Marines on a gun boat.

They are tired and sweaty. All of them wear tattered, dirty fatigues and grim, thousand-yard stares, even as they smile mechanically for the camera and brandish their weapons. They are all weighed down by so much more than their overloaded rucks.

The one in the middle is my Da'.

He carries a field radio; the same radio that will be hit by gunfire in less than three months and burn its imprint indelibly into his body. He still carries that radio today -- the straps are still visible if he wears sleeveless shirts (which of course he doesn't, because too many people gawk at the bright pink keloids that mar his shoulders and upper chest). There is a ratty towel around his neck, he wears standard military-issue, black-rimmed "birth control" glasses and his helmet is covered in illegible graffiti. If I wanted to, I could climb to his attic today and pull the towel, the glasses and the helmet out of his footlocker and trace the ghosts of those words with my finger.

My love of books,. my poor eyesight, my affection for bad puns and truly awful dirty jokes and my skills in profanity all come from the man in that picture.

My eldest daughter has his artistic talent in spades.
My son has his eyes and his mechanical ability to disassemble and reassemble anything handed to him.
My youngest child has smile and shows all the signs of having his skill in languages.

He still bears the scars -- physical and psychological -- from a conflict decades and continents away. Those scars can be easily breached by careless words and actions.

Remember those who have served and those who currently serve this Memorial Day.

(I will save my vitriol for those who scorn such service and are utterly beneath contempt for another day.)

Addendum, becasue I can't get the comment to post:

EB -- it's despicable when any Commander-in-Chief -- who bears the ultimate responsibility in sending our men and women into harm's way -- neglects to honor them appropriately. Party affiliation does not matter.

If you're willing to send people to die to enforce the will of the Country, the least you can fucking do is hang around and drop a fucking wreath for those who have fallen.

About the only legit excuse  could accept in this case is an honest-to-God medical crisis.


  1. Before you go into the vitrol, remember that Bush 41 skipped Arlington on Memorial Day in `92 and sent VP Quayle. Reagan skipped it in `83 and sent some Deputy Undersecretary for Trash Can Cleaning.

    Was it wrong for those guys, as well, or is this another manifestation of IOKIYAR?

  2. While you can save your vitriol, I choose to exercise mine. I simply can not fathom the mentality or thought processes of those who show such utter contempt at those very men and women who served (and is many cases, sacrificed so very, very much) so they, in turn, can rest easy knowing that they're free to watch "American Idol" and listen to the latest Snoop Dogg CD without fear that the government is going to kick down their door and drag them off to a reeducation camp.

    In the liberal circle-jerk of a movie "A Few Good Men", a lot of what Jack Nicholson's character, Colonel Jessep, says is pretty much right on the money. Yes, I know he's supposed to be the Big Bad, but essentially all of his monologue ("Son, we live in a world that has walls...") is true. Every single word.

    As for President Zero... eh. That doesn't really bother me. I'd rather he stay away from Arlington and not taint the place with his presence.

  3. This is the day for those that gave all... It's the 142nd Memorial Day, and sadly, few seem to care anymore. Thank you for remembering and posting. Obviously you also get your sense of pride and patriotism from your Dad.

  4. Tell your Dad I appreciate him.


  5. Thank you for posting this. Too many people forget those stories of patriotism, even within their own families.

    For my part, I spent the better part of an hour teaching kindergarteners the real reason we celebrate Memorial Day.

  6. As a veteran myself, and after canvassing a fair number of my friends who served in eras from VN to Afghanistan, we came to the conclusion that for the President to only go to Arlington would represent intellectual laziness on his part, and continue to slight the over 130 *other* National Cemeteries, not to mention the many other State and local cemeteries that also have large veteran 'populations.' In that, we are in agreement with Mr. Galluci and Mr. Muro.

    I did find it interesting that it was the Washington Post that raised the argument in such an inflammatory way.

    As far as the rest goes, For me and mine:

    We toast our dead with water!

    Absent friends and fallen Comrades.



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