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Happy Memorial Day

I’ve always found the phrase “Happy Memorial Day” to be a bit weird.

After all, the day is intended for the most somber purpose, to pay homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

While I’m glad to be honored by others due to my status as a veteran, I prefer to reserve my homage to those who have lost their lives in defense of their country.

I’m one of those vets who doesn’t find a lot of glory in war. This makes me a pretty small subset of those who have served in uniform. I wish for a day when Memorial Day honors those who have died in the past, not in the present or the future. The only “war” I ever served in was the Cold War. As I was stationed close to the East German border while it was still a border, it was more than just theoretical, because, at the time we had no idea that the Soviet Union was essentially a toothless tiger. We basically trained to die in place; to give the US a handful of days to get forces from the States in the event of an invasion. As a unit, our life expectancy was around 72 hours, although they didn’t exactly tell us that at the time.

And the thought that I’d be in a real war was made even more real by the fact that I was an Infantryman. I dug foxholes, manned a .50cal Browning as a Track Commander (“commander” being an honorary title for a Corporal), lugged a backpack radio (making me a pretty clear target for a sniper) and, yes, watched a fellow soldier die in a tragic training accident during a night live fire excercise.

But that’s nothing compared to those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, not only do I honor the fallen, I honor those who are putting their lives on the line as I type this. They deserve our thanks regardless of how we stand on the politics of the conflicts, and so I think of them now.

Here’s to absent friends and comrades.

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2 responses to “Happy Memorial Day

  1. Marta Daniels June 1, 2010 at 8:12 am

    God bless you for all you have done for our country! You didn’t have to work on Memorial Day did you? My restaurant was open for dinner, but I didn’t have to work (Monday’s off).

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