( – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Cross posted at Daily KOS
A while back I got the urge to visit Goodwill, I rarely do because the days of bargains are long gone around here. But I also know even if I’m not shopping for anything when I get that urge I will find something I didn’t know I needed until I get there. I also found a parking spot close to the door, another sign I was going home with something. I hit the furniture section and didn’t see anything and then headed down the back wall something I never do, when I spotted it hanging on a hanger amidst some curtains. A flag. Not just any flag mind you, but a special flag, the creases from it’s unmistakable triangular fold still visible. It was a interment flag, used to drape the coffin of a veteran or soldier who died in action.
I can’t imagine how the flag came to be in Goodwill, it was new, not something that had spent time in a trunk or on a drawer out of the way. Did the people at Goodwill unfold it? What must they have thought as they did and why didn’t one of them rescue it? I wondered a lot of things at home refolding the flag. It brought back a flood of memories.
I still have my POW/MIA bracelet, James Albert Champion. You can read his story here here and here. I wore the bracelet for years, until his name had become nearly unreadable. I wait patiently with those who loved him for his return. We wait with 93,208 other families hoping for their loved ones to come home. Memories of the anger I felt at normalization relations with the government of Vietnam without a full accounting. My anger at Pepsi Cola for having a bottling plant there before it was legal, oh thats right they gave away what they bottled, doesn’t count I guess. Dozens of US comapnies set up offices before the embargo was lifted. My class mates lost, those who would never be the same, home but lost none the less. Memories of the flag I burned in protest to the war and welcoming home the broken.
The more things change the more they stay the same. The word war has a special meaning and memories as I am sure it does for anyone who as lived during a time of conflict. But we must never forget the human toll. Not just ours, but theirs as well. In Iraq the toll simply staggers our ability to comprehend, more than 1.2 million dead, 5 million refugees either in other countries or wandering their own looking for a safe place. More than a million maimed and broken in a country that has been laid waste by Bush. Those who can get out walk out. Imagine if you can walking from Baghdad to the Syrian border, 324 miles thru what is largely waste land? There is no punishment that will ever be enough for the crimes committed by G.W Bush, nope, not a single one.
To date we have lost 4457 in Iraq and Afghanistan, 307 coalition troups. 30,000 wounded and another 20,000 with traumatic brain injuries that aren’t even counted. It is important to remember to human toll, the lives gone and interrupted. I visit the IGTNT diaries, read and recommend. I give the link to the series to everyone with an email. The IGTNT team is doing such important work, I know their tributes must be meaningful for the families. Their loved one’s stop being a casualty number and are remember as the vibrant human beings they were. We get to know a little bit about them and in some small way share the grief of the families. Sadly, the one thing we would all wish to do, we cannot.
What I don’t do with IGTNT diaries is post to them very often. Words will always fail me at times like that. Afraid I will say the wrong thing and the last thing I would ever want to do is bring more pain to them. Doesn’t stop me from wanting to comment, needing to, I just leave it those who can find the appropriate words. What I do understand and what often speaks for me are images. I hit upon the idea of doing a short slide show, a memorial tribute, images I could use instead of words.
I started it yesterday, made my rough cut and took a look. The intention was to better understand. I can’t post it to the IGTNT diary tonight or ever, it is too much. But if you are willing to excuse the timing errors on slides and music and layout mess ups I will share the rough cut with you.
It is just a small bit of the incredible sadness felt about this war, the sadness so difficult to articulate.
It is so important we remember, witness their sacrifice and understand the magnitude of their loss. Please visit the IGTNT diaries tonight and every time they are posted. It truly is I believe, the finest part of Daily KOS.