As someone who was rejected by all four major branches of the military in one form or another, I don’t have much authority to preach on about the sacrifices made by our armed services.
I have family and friends who have and continue to serve in the military, and I am very grateful for the sacrifices that they’ve made and for the fact that all I’ve known personally have come back alive and in one piece. I still know people who get deployed and they and their families go through a lot that most of us aren’t willing to go through.
Most citizens don’t serve in the military and are far removed from the everyday toils and struggle of the people who wear the uniform, and that’s a mistake. It’s a mistake to remove the burden of national security from the common person.
This country was forged by common citizens, and the first people who gave their lives to create this country were outlaws using illegal weapons. Nothing could be less American than becoming a slobbering hag enthralled with anyone in a uniform. Memorial Day honors brave men and women who died in service to our country, in or out of uniform.
“Supporting the troops” has becoming such a meaningless phrase that it includes anyone who sticks and American flag on their lawn and stands for the national anthem. I’ve been to baseball games with friends who are commies and refuse to stand for the national anthem and I have family and friends who want to punch those people in the face.
But this is America, and the people who stand for the national anthem do so because they want to, not because they have to. If we force people to stand for our national anthem, we won’t survive as a country and don’t deserve to. I refuse to live in a land where we force our own citizens to salute our flag. Millions of Americans died for our freedom, including the freedom to be a snotty ingrate.
The few people who would desecrate Memorial Day or step on or burn an American flag do so to be offensive, and they are. Do you know what I find more offensive? That military families have had to raise money on their own to pay for their loved ones’ body armor and other supplies. That we insist on wars halfway across the globe while our own borders are porous and that we have generals who think increasing the racial diversity of our military is more important than not having our troops murdered by their own doctors. I don’t like burning the American flag, but people who do offend me a lot less than whoever thought it would be a good idea to pay private contractors twice what our service members make.
None of the actions of our government, nor of the military itself, shrouds or negates the sacrifices made by men and women who fought and died for our country.
It’s unfortunate that such a solemn holiday is the unofficial start of the summer season. I wish I could say I’ll be spending Monday at a veteran’s cemetery putting flags on graves or quietly reflecting on the sacrifices made by our war dead. But I’ll be at a friend’s house eating hot dogs and playing music among a haze of cigar smoke. And I don’t even like summer.
I cannot share in the glory of any military victory, but I experience the benefit of our fallen fighters every day.
And evidence of this sacrifice is all around us. We take the security of our country for granted and laugh at the idea of being invaded by the military of another country. That comfort comes at a very high price. Please remember that.