Memorial Day in America

It’s that day again; Memorial Day.  A day to honor those who died while in service to our country.

While Americans wave flags that they never fought for, the rest of us who did view this day in a different way…

Let the people who never spent a day in our military wave flags.  Let the people who got deferments make a show out of honoring those who died in their stead.  Let the people who want to destroy our Constitution make their speeches about the honor and sacrifice our military made to secure that Constitution.  Let the politicians who lied us into wars place their flowers at a grave for a photo op.  Because to me, that is what Memorial Day has turned into — a day of shame that veterans are forced to live through year after year.

This is not, nor has it ever been, a joyous day.  This is a day where veterans are forced to remember the sacrifices they made for a country that chewed them up and spit them back out.  

Family?  Yes, many veterans had one of those at one time until the repeated deployments became too much for many wives or husbands to bear.  The veteran served, and, was served — with divorce papers.

Health?  Yes, many veterans had that at one time until they got wounded by that IED, gunshot, or worse.  And if their body somehow made it through, for some, their mind simply couldn’t hold up and they came home with PTSD.

Employment?  Yes, many veterans had that too, that was, until they were called to serve.  That job they had when they went to serve their country, well, it simply wasn’t there when they got home.  Many veteran’s returned to an unemployment line.

The government who sent these men and women off to war made sure these veterans had the best health care, right?  Wrong.  Not only did our injured veterans return to be treated in squalor, but, to inadequate resources.

Is it any wonder that our veterans return with depression?  In fact, why wait to return as many of our active duty are now taking anti-depressant medicine while still out in the field.  And if the individual doesn’t want to wait for the Veteran’s Administration to help him/her, or their military command, some of our veterans simply commit suicide.

For those veterans who survive up to this point, today is an especially brutal day for them.  We get to be reminded of all of those we served with who did die serving alongside us.  We get to remember that particularly nasty battle that lives with us the rest of our lives.  We get to remember the dead, not in some cemetery, but in our minds.  We get to remember that day when we almost died while serving our country, yet, somehow didn’t.

After those images run through our minds, we get to have that realization that nothing we do today will ever be like it was then.  You see, for many veterans, they have nothing now and are homeless.  When they were serving, they had a job, a purpose, a life worth living.  How much of that do you have when you live on the street with no job, no home, and no family?

This, of course, doesn’t even touch on the dignity of our veterans.  You remember when you would be changing stations, in an airport in your uniform, and some stranger would walk up to you, shake your hand, and have a kind word for you.  As a homeless veteran, you are merely the scum of that people avoid.  If you are fortunate enough not to be homeless, the abuses others inflicted have tainted your service and you are called a “baby-killer”, or today, “torturer”.

Name me a reason why us veterans shouldn’t look upon today for what it is — a day everyone else wants to celebrate but us.  Name me a reason why today isn’t a day to heckle the politicians that lied us into a war, then had the audacity to act like today held some sacred place in their heart.  Name me a reason why today isn’t a day for the veteran to look upon the draft dodgers with disgust.

What is so special about this day to a veteran?

Today is simply a day for the rest of society to absolve themselves of any guilt they have as they look at the graves of our fallen.  The public who never served.  The draft dodgers who lied to get out of serving.  The politicians who lied us into war.  All of them.

But, for the veteran?  This is the one day I hate above all others.


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