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bito On May - 30 - 2011

A day of remembrance of beaches, ballparks, barbecues and yes, the store sales.  What a fun day, the “unofficial” start of summer, the Indy 500,  with a 3 day weekend to boot.  How did Americans get so lucky to have this joyous holiday?
Oh there is that one troublesome problem in the morning, some old guys with funny looking hats block part of town and have a little parade.  No problem though, just avoid that part of town, it’s a pretty small affair.  What’s that all about anyway?  Some political rally?  Some social cause? And don’t those people know it’s time to party?

Right or wrong, agree or disagree, political or not- decisions were made as a county and millions of men and women responded and served and paid the “ultimate sacrifice.”  “The true heroes are the ones left on the battlefields” the saying goes, this is the day to remember them.

No grills to light, hot dogs to burn, shopping or flag waving.  Just you and your taking some time with your thoughts and now with the country being involved in multiple conflicts perhaps a moment to wish the end for no more lost for the next Memorial Days.

Not a day to celebrate but a day to ponder, to remember.

Please take a moment on May 30th at 3:00pm local time to remember those that died in military service to the country.


Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Day Service

Arlington National Cemetery

Categories: Observations, Society

Written by bito

Was once a handsome frog until kissed by an ugly corporate princess.----- Like a well honed knife, the internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It can be used to prepare and serve a delicious meal or it can be used to cause harm. peace

30 Responses so far.

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  1. KQuark says:

    Very fine tribute.

    I feel beyond lucky that even though my father, older brother and almost all my uncles served and fought we never lost anyone of my family members in war.

    For those who did lose loved ones I sincerely am sorry for their loss.

  2. jkkFL says:

    This is from a couple of years ago; my friend puts it on her FB page every Memorial Day- thought I would share it, in honor of those away this year.

  3. whatsthatsound says:

    Thanks, bito, for putting this up. I’ll just use it to remeber my father, Ben. He was a Marine who “fought” in the Pacific War. Actually, like the scene in “Saving Private Ryan”, he hit the beach in Okinawa and was pretty much blown to bits.
    Months of reconstruction in a military hospital, and he was sent home. He was nineteen.
    Life was not easy for him afterwards, as you can imagine. He did manage to meet my mom, Rose, and start a family. But he was heavily traumatized by his war experience and suffered both physically and mentally.

    He died when I was two, so I never really got to know him. And that, as Forrest Gump says, is all I have to say about that.

    • bito says:

      No thanks needed WTS, it was just a reminder. As much as one can hate the concept of war, Memorial Day is a time for remember those that payed with their lives.

    • kesmarn says:

      WTS, I had an uncle who was in the Marine Corp on Okinawa. Like many of his peers, he never talked about it.

      His coping mechanism was humor. He did have a wickedly funny sense of humor. Everything was funny to him. Everything.

      To this day, I’m not sure whether or not that was a good thing.

      War really is hell.

    • foodchain says:

      WTS, It is so important. I never knew my father, a conscripted Estonian forced to fight to defend a country not his own. It all stinks and it isn’t different today. I’m so sorry about your father. We really don’t have words I think that don’t sound like a platitude.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Thanks foodchain. Very sorry to hear about your father’s experience as well. War is just such an awful thing, and as you say, there really aren’t words adequate to describe its destructiveness on so many levels.

  4. KillgoreTrout says:

    Those who fought and died are indeed worthy of remembrance. They gave of themselves, all they had to give. They even said a final goodbye to their own families. Their spouses, their children, their homes, their towns and their friends. They do indeed need to be remembered.
    And I think, even though Memorial day is an American holiday, we should also memorialize those millions of innocent men, women and children who had no say in their own deaths. The true victims of such heinous events as wars. In WWII, nearly 70 million people were killed. Over half of them were civilians. They too need to be remembered.

    • kesmarn says:

      Especially the children, KT. When I was a kid, I knew a woman who — as a child — had lost an arm in the London blitz.

      She married and had children. She had to learn to cook with one hand, do dishes and laundry with one hand, change diapers with one hand. She was a veteran of that war, too. A child veteran. But without medals, songs or parades.

      People like her should be remembered. And people who have battled to stop war should be remembered too. Quakers and other pacifist groups, people like Mohammed Ali and Martin Luther King and other more anonymous people who decided that they would not kill in the cause of an unjust war. That is courage, too. They are heroes, too.

      • bito says:

        k’es, there does need to be a day set aside for the death and injured of the innocents both those killed and injured! Where is their day?

        I do have had mixed feelings about Memorial Day. I worked against the Nam war in many ways. If there was an anti war group, demonstration, meeting or rally I was there. Friends, Viet Vets Against the War, SDS or some ad hoc group, it didn’t matter.
        I just never felt Memorial Day was a time for policy or politics. Not the right and wrong, but the memory of those that died.

  5. Khirad says:

    The perfect tune IMO for Memorial Day.

    Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier -- by Ronnie Gilbert

    I think this interpretation goes more to addressing PTSD (it was someone’s high school project)


    • kesmarn says:

      Khirad, for a high school project that was absolutely outstanding. Incredible vision.

      I was in a vocal/guitar trio too long ago to want to remember, and this was one of the anti-war songs that really brought a sort of stillness to the house when it was sung.

  6. funksands says:

    The human capacity to volunteer to fight for, defend, and die for a nation of people they have never met for a cause that they barely understand is incredible.

    The capacity of our politicians to squander that nobility and selflessness on folly and half-baked idealism is equally incredible.

    I don’t know anyone that has died while in active duty in a war, though I know many that have served. The appreciation of the first trait is what keeps me going back to the national cemetery every year to say thanks. The fear of the second is one the main reasons to stay politically active and aware.

    There are services at Tahoma National today at 1pm. Find the closest one to you and attend sometime.

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    As someone who came of age during the Viet Nam era, I was predisposed to denigrate the military. It wasn’t only the war, but also the culture wars of the late 60’s and early 70’s: movies like Dr. Strangelove to cite one example. Apocalypse Now, or even ET, showed the military as either incompetent or dangerous to our democracy. I can’t even remember all the movies I saw with that POV and it was one that I shared. Frankly, that all changed for me on September 11, 2001.

    I remember it clearly, like we all do, but I remember distinctly thinking “Please protect us, US Military.” From that day on, while I admit to having a definite wariness, I am more grateful to our warriors than I ever thought possible.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      cher, I remember those days well. I was very anti-war. Certain movies really reinforced my anti-war sentiments. Two of the best anti-war films, in my opinion, were MASH and Catch-22. They really showed the senselessness and carnage and madness that is inherent in all wars. In the sixites, there was much more of a rebellious atmosphere and a greater realization of just how senseless war is. When every middle class and poor male had to face possible death, disfigurement and madness upon turning 18 years of age.

    • ADONAI says:

      I have a similar feeling, Cher. I despise the military and everything it stands for. But it’s not like I don’t understand the necessity of it.

      A lot of the soldiers are there simply because they have no other choice. Can’t be mad at them. I remember my senior year of high school, the recruiters were everywhere. I almost signed up. A lot of my friends were. But I wasn’t poor. I had a chance at school. I had a choice. Some of them just didn’t.

      Looking back, I’m glad I made that decision. There’s nothing honorable about dying in a desert, thousands of miles from home, for a bit of profit.

      I feel bad for the soldiers even though I shouldn’t. They still made the choice to join. They’re all proud of their service.

      The country didn’t make the decision to send them over there. One man did, LYING THROUGH HIS FUCKING TEETH THE WHOLE TIME, and we did nothing to stop him. Not only did he send them into a no-win situation, he robbed them of an honorable death in a meaningful battle. No soldier deserves that.

      So who was I talking about there? LBJ or Bush? Hard to tell.

      • Khirad says:

        The Marines were the most aggressive. They should have taken one look at me and figured out I wasn’t Corps material.

        Now, the Army, I did almost join there, went to the processing station and everything and backed out at the last minute. I would have been in Iraq had I committed and had they given me a couple ‘moral’ waivers.

        But, it was only in the last couple that I started to almost regret not joining up. Not the best reason, but I get sick of those (not a majority) who lord it over you and imply they love their country more or something, and that libs suck. It would’ve been great to say, I served too, shut up. But that wasn’t the only reason I looked into the Navy. Besides benefits, I did actually want to serve. But, alas, me and the military were not to be. So, I get to keep my hair, I guess.

        Nevertheless, I have conflicted opinions about the military too. But I hold nothing against the rank and file. They’re just normal guys and gals like any one else, doing a job and following orders.

        • KillgoreTrout says:

          Khirad, very well said. I served in the USMC, but it was not exactly my idea. I was a hippie in training, and very anti war before I joined. Maybe joined isn’t the right word. Before I was coerced to join, I should say.
          I got busted for possession of LSD, about 6 months after graduating high school. If I had gone to trial, I stood the chance of getting 5 years in the state prison. My father made a deal with the DA to let me serve in the military, instead of going to trial. It was a tough choice, because this was during the Vietnam war. (I thought, which would be better, getting raped by Bubba, or getting shot by Charlie)
          I first went to the air force recruiter and was turned down, then I went to the navy recruiter, and was told that as long as there were charges hanging over my head, I would not be accepted. The only branch that would accept me was the USMC. Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children!
          So, I signed up for three years. I wanted to do only two years, but the recruiter told me that a two year commitment meant that I would surely be assigned to the infantry, I would be a “ground pounder,” or a “grunt.” So I went for the three year gig.
          I served honorably and received an honorable discharge after my three years was up. I still have mixed feelings about it all, but I have to say that I am quite proud of the fact that I was a Marine. That I could be a member in the toughest of the 4 branches. (outside of special forces)
          And now, I don’t have to worry about health insurance or healthcare. Uncle Sam has me covered.

    • Khirad says:

      I have the opposite problem. I WANT to serve, but alas, mistakes in my youth prevent me from doing so.

  8. choicelady says:

    bito- Because I did not keep up much with my high school folks, I have no idea whether boys I knew died in Vietnam. To my knowledge I lost no friends or acquaintances “over there” -- at the time. But so many have died prematurely, mostly Agent Orange, and they go unrecorded on The Wall or in any other listing.

    So yup -- I think of them. I think of Tom Pomeroy, Eastern Airline IAM president who fought so valiantly for his people in the union, and the day the airlines died, he learned he had lymphoma of the type that came from Agent Orange. He died a few months later. And Pat Sardina, great and sympathetic police detective and wonderful man, who did the same. And my Dad, navigator on a Liberty Ship in the South Pacific who got Parkinson’s disease with which he lived, and dealth with, for another 60-plus years. And on and on and on. They are in my heart, victims of war, just as all those who came back from The War to End All Wars and then the Good War, and the Forgotten War, and the current wars -- people mained in body and spirit.

    Even when the war itself was needless and pointless, they stepped up and did their duty. Never mind if the war did not ‘keep us safe’, they did, just by being selfless and concered for the folks back home. The human acts are what matter. The human sacrifices are what matter. The human courage is what matters.

    Thank you, all those men and women, for your courage and sacrifice. It’s not the war that matters. It’s you.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      The military can be thought of as a metaphor for a giant gun. The parts of that gun do not determine how the gun is used. The men who decide to use this metaphorical gun, the ones who aim it and pull the trigger are very rarely caught up in the explosion and smoke and recoil of such a gun. They don’t do the bleeding and killing and dying.

    • foodchain says:

      See if you have an online update. I went to the site for a recent reunion — a lot of men gone. Brings it all back

    • Khirad says:

      I wonder about they guys I knew in high school, if they are alive or not too. Not that I knew them well, but they would have been joining just 2-3 years prior to 9/11.

  9. foodchain says:

    This video is from the Weepies and, while it’s not about our soldiers, it’s so touching. To me it points out what we fight for and those left behind.

  10. bito says:

    Dear Friend,

    As you know, Gabrielle has spent her career fighting for our troops, veterans, and military families. As one of the only military spouses in Congress and as a member of the House Armed Forces Committee, she understands just how important support for our military is. This Memorial Day, as she is focused on the fight of her life—to recover and get back to her work—we want to honor those fighting for us.

    In Arizona, Gabrielle’s Cactus Roots will be collecting items for care packages to send to our troops. We hope that whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, you’ll take a moment to remember the sacrifice of all our armed service members, and even consider volunteering in some way to honor them.

    We wish you a thoughtful and safe holiday, and thank you for your continued support.


    Jessica Schultz
    Political Director

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