It’s Memorial Day here in the states.
Mr. X was a career sailor who served during the tail-end of the Vietnam War and on through Dessert Storm (3 deployments) before retiring. i was a Navy wife for nearly a decade. Both my brother and father were Marines for a short time. The military life is a tricky one… for those who serve and those who love them… and today, i penned an email to my brother and father as i thought of the day… of Memorial Day.It occurred to me that my sentiments don’t apply to just them, so i’m taking the liberty of sharing part of what i said to them… with anyone out there reading. i remain conflicted about our military complex… our drive to control… and i think i will be relieved when we are no longer the world’s hegemonic leader, because it may just free us from what seems to be our obligation to fight… not only our fights, but everyone else’s.
Hello you two…
I realize that people join the military for a variety of reasons… to escape from their lives… to have adventure… to serve…
Today, I won’t go to any parades or grill or fly a flag… it’s simply not something I do, but having lived in military towns and been immersed in the life… I am always reminded on days like today of the tragic loss of life that is part and parcel of our military establishment… there can be no wars without it. While I don’t always agree with WHO or WHY we are fighting… or the WHEN or the WHERE or the HOW… I am appreciative of the men and women who are willing to take their marching orders and march… often to their deaths. This sacrifice allows the rest of us the luxury of sitting in our livingrooms… even disagreeing with the conflict… in relative comfort and safety.
Today… I just wanted to say that I appreciate that both of you were willing to serve… I’m also thrilled that neither of you stayed… sorry, but true. I can’t wrap my mind around what it must be like to visit those cemeteries with rows of white markers… the sheer volume of loss… it is overwhelming to me, even when I simply see the photos.
I know that -just as we lost friends – both of you likely rubbed elbows with young servicemembers who never returned to their families… and again, I thank you for your service to all of us – and I love you both.
Goodnight, Saigon (Billy Joel)
David Borden prays over the name of his friend Lanny Buroff at Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Army Spc. Matthew Burt, 25, with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as “The Old Guard,” places flags on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)