Posts Tagged ‘veterans’

Memorial Day: More Than Just a Vacation Day – … And thus began the international war against Islamo-fascism

May 26, 2008

Memorial Day: More Than Just a Vacation Day

The News & Advance
Published: May 25, 2008

Say the phrase “Memorial Day,” and more people than you’d imagine will think of city pools opening, the first three-day weekend of the year, cookouts, the unofficial start of summer, big sales at the mall. Fewer and fewer people today would first think it’s the day to honor America’s war dead.

How sad it is that the nation’s most somber holiday has turned into a day for pool parties, grilling up some burgers and dogs and snagging some bargains on markdown.

Over the course of the nation’s 228-year history, millions of men and women have answered their country’s call to service to defend freedom and liberty, not just for ourselves but often for the world. Tens of thousands of them gave the ultimate sacrifice, the last full measure of devotion, their very lives to the nation they love.

That’s the sole purpose of this day: honoring those men and women and remembering their sacrifices.

America is now in the sixth year of the war in Iraq, a conflict in which more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died. As a nation, for at least this one day, let’s put aside the endless arguments over whether we should have invaded Iraq … let’s not debate whether it’s possible to create democracy in the Arab world … let’s stop fighting over the planning, or lack thereof, for the post-war period … and please, let’s stop babbling on that the war was just about oil.

Let’s just focus on the men and women who’ve put themselves in harm’s way for their country.

It was almost seven years ago, that 19 Islamo-fascist terrorists launched attacks on Washington, D.C., and New York City, killing close to 3,000 people in a matter of minutes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa.

In the dark days following the attacks, Americans of all stripes realized there is indeed evil in this world, people whose entire purpose in life is to bring down the exemplar of Western culture: the United States of America.

And thus began the international war against Islamo-fascism. In fundamentalist Afghanistan (the lair of the Taliban and al-Qaida) and the dictatorship of Iraq (the well of simmering Arab frustration that had to be drained to make the region fertile ground for democracy, the argument went), hundreds of thousands of American soldiers hit the ground, to protect both their own nation and to liberate the people living under the thumbs of brutal leaders.

Their country called, and they responded, without reservation and knowing full well the dangers they faced.

Has the government of this nation had their backs at all times? Hardly. Just recall the horrible stories The Washington Post broke last year about the rancid conditions wounded veterans faced in Walter Reed Army Medical Center and replicated in military hospitals around the country. Then there’ve been the stories about faulty equipment and lack of proper resources that troops have had to face. This nation’s civilian and military leaders, from President Bush on down, ought to hang their heads in shame for the way they’ve treated the men and women of the armed services.

But still, America’s sons and daughters are answering the nation’s call to service, and will continue to do so. Not because they’re Republicans or Democrats, not because they’re nationalistic chest-thumpers, not because they’re capitalism’s storm troopers.

No, rather because they are willing to sacrifice and possibly die for a simple concept: the dignity of mankind and the value of a single life.

That’s what Memorial Day is all about.