Honoring Those Who Served

Another Memorial Day, another opportunity to honor those who have served in our armed services, those who have lost their dreams and sacrificed their desires in battles that I can’t begin to fully understand. I absolutely am thankful for the men and women who have fought those wars and left us early and I am grateful even for those who served and lived and then returned to work and build families and communities. My battle is deeper, or bigger, with the concepts of fighting and killing and the senseless wars that we engage in around the world and the ways in which young poor people are given little option but the military as a means out of poverty. Always somewhat of a rebel, I have not been a flag waver just because we have one, I ask more questions. The current most distressing condition of our country begs for more questions, it seems our most patriotic duty, to really honor those who have fallen, is to ask the really hard questions right now.

I wonder at the label “Patriot” and how that has been so perverted to include those who spread hate and divisions and allow our country, our America!, to be infiltrated by the Russians. More and more evidence is surfacing that the elections were rigged, that the administration has been working back channels, that many of the GOP are in the pocket of Putin. I am no history major but I have read and watched a good deal about the McCarthy era and just cannot figure out how we have swung so far. During that time, the mere hint, a whisper, of being Communist got people blacklisted, changed the course of their lives. Now hearings are being convened again, subpoenas are issued, alarms are going off and excuses are made, flags are waved. Some people do not even want to look closer, to ask any questions, they are so filled with hate for Hillary that they cannot fathom anything said about their candidate is true. Tuned out, backs to the screen, fingers in their ears. How is that patriotic?

As the wreaths are laid today and the old pictures are posted on social media and families gather to remember grandpas and uncles who fought in wars long ago and aunts who have served more recently, I just have to ask what those who have fought would have us do? Blindly trust, shut down journalists, allow unskilled family members to take over in the West Wing, watch as Foreign Governments sound alarms? What did our fallen brothers and sisters give up their lives for? Wasn’t it that we would live free? Free to follow our Constitution, free to allow all the branches to work effectively in checks and balances? Free to worship? Free to serve each other and grow in our diversity and welcome those who are tired and hungry? Anyone who has served overseas has witnessed the ravages of war and understands the wealth we have here and the duty of our land to share and welcome those who are escaping tyranny. We grow stronger as a nation by listening to each other and to smart people in true journalistic endeavors who show us not only what is happening on battlefields but behind closed doors and during election nights and within the Oval office.

This Memorial Day, may we truly honor those who have given all by giving our all to keeping this land free. May we ask those tough questions of ourselves that may force us to admit we got duped. May we open our doors to those who are needing refuge from mass incarceration or the new war on “different.” Our grandpas and uncles and aunts and mothers will thank us for making their sacrifice worth it.

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