Gone but Not Forgotten
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines memorial as “serving to preserve remembrance.” This weekend as BBQ is had and shoes are swapped for flip-flops we find ourselves in that classic ponderance of American life. Are we truly remembering the fallen soldiers who have made the greatest of sacrifice for us, or are we simply relishing a day off? On the North Coast, we may not have the military bases or the vast cemeteries like Arlington to fully impress upon us how expensive our freedom really is, but we do have hearts.
Humboldt has sent many of its sons and daughters off to defend us around the world. We have seen our tax dollars go toward protecting our way of life and building a safer world. Whether it is simply American war-weariness or censorship, we do not see the true horrors of combat every night as Cronkite provided in the Vietnam war, or Movietone news did in the 1940s. We live in a kind of bubble these days where the wars around the world seem far more distant than they really are and the death and struggle seem more like something for Clint Eastwood to deal with than Daniel the landscaper.
We have to preserve the memory and the reality of what war really is and the hardships that burdens the families and soldiers themselves. Ex-military unemployment is twice the national average. If we care so much to put a ribbon on a car, how is it that we can not find work for some of the most skilled people there are? It is always easier to say than do of course. Everyone would like to believe that you can put a bumper sticker on your car and somehow it will change the world. It is blood, sweat and tears though that changes the world. The United States of America would be no more than a vague notion once whispered by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were it not for the countless lives of farmers and fisherman who took up muskets in defense of an idea.
If we do not try do more to remember we will make life that much harder for the next generation. What will posterity say of a generation that asked so much of its warriors, gave them so little and yet still got so much out of them? It is a new era. It is an era in which we will most likely have soldiers deployed around the world for one crisis or another permanently. We must do more to actually support the troops. There are several ways to do this and the easiest is to donate to care packages for the troops. You would be surprised how much of their basic necessities have to paid out of pocket.
When you finish that beer and that last bite of your double bacon cheeseburger this weekend, take 20 minutes and start really thinking about what you can do for these national heroes. The best way we can preserve the memory of our fallen soldiers is to actively take part in the success of the soldiers we still have.
Care Packages for the troops: http://www.operationgratitude.com/
Michelle Obama’s Veteran Outreach Program: