If only our words in honour formed the whole of the day. If only words fell and people lived. If only the lot of us settled disputes instead of allowing them to conflagrate. We somehow made it to seven billion without destroying ourselves. We sure as hell try.
In the wake of political incapability, too often, we throw those who serve our nation into horrific circumstance. Too often, some of them die. We fail, they die, such a one-sided, warped deal we offer them.
I don’t honour political failings, the woeful record of those who demand and never concede, who dictate and never listen, who, smug in the knowledge our best stand ready, wield the lives of soldiers as bargaining chips, hoping the other party succumbs. With feet anchored in the cement of intransigence, these politicians sit back, perhaps to watch and perhaps to worry, but they don’t risk their keisters, soldiers do.
In my lifetime, we fought in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada, the First Gulf War, and shame on us a second, wrapped around Afghanistan. All caused loss of life, all cost some of us family and some of us friends.
I opposed most of these efforts, excepting Afghanistan and Gulf the first. In the others, I separated political opposition from support for our soldiers. They I admire, they I respect, their loss our sadness and our failure.
The days of the local cemetery overfilled with mourners paying respects fell to the workings of time, but the memories exist in me. Memorial Day, cars lined either side of the road in front of this home, running as far as I could see in either direction, with people gathered for the scheduled ceremony. We’d watch, children not quite understanding the why, but we grasped the need for respect.