Tag: Memorial Day
"There are lots of reminders that memorial Day is about more than a day of barbeque. Congress officially set Memorial Day as the last day in May to mark the start of our summer season of fun with the day devoted to the memory of those who perished in the fight for our principles of freedom. On this day of remembrance, the members of VFWs across our nation lead the way in honoring those who gave the last full measure of service." - Brigadier General Djuric
General Djuric paid homage to the present families of the fallen, telling the crowd that to the spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers, every day is Memorial Day.
Today I ask all Virginians to take a moment and reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to our country and died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a veteran of the United States Army, I have had the privilege to serve alongside some of the very finest men and women in this country who so bravely risk their lives defending our freedom. To those who died while serving our nation, I salute you and your families on this day of remembrance. We are all eternally grateful for your service and sacrifice.
Take care, Ralph Northam, Virginia Lieutenant Governor
I have come to personally believe that the phrase "thank-you for your service" has become a vacuous salutation. I am suspect of most politicians who blather on about veterans. The situation in the Veterans Administration justifies that cynicism. That is another story that is hardly new but I want to focus on actual heroes (a word woefully devalued by Ronald Reagan). I do know Ralph Northam and have no doubt in his sincerity.
"Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
Since the establishment of Memorial Day (as Decoration Day), we've blurred the line that defines military service for political and economic purposes. So I personally extend my remembrance to the police and fire personnel who have lost their lives in our service. And to the "contractors" whose military positions were "civilianized" so that politicians could claim reductions in force and retired military could suck at the teat of government pretending to deliver service more efficiently than the military.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed; those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." - Dwight David Eisenhower
Yet, how many Memorial Day parades will there be this year? How many people will commemorate the holiday by visiting the graves of soldiers who have perished in America's many wars? Who will visit veterans in VA hospitals? We all know the answer to each question...not that many people.
This week Jim Webb introduced a bill that in its own way also honors those who have died for the rest of us. The proposed legislation would require explicit congressional approval of future U.S. humanitarian or peacekeeping operations involving the military and likely hostilities. The measure would not apply to instances where there's an imminent threat to the United States, U.S. allies or American citizens.
This bill is yet another attempt to walk the nation back to the original intent of the founding fathers - that the representatives of the people should hold the ultimate power to put American soldiers in harm's way or involve the country in a war. Yes, there are times when the president as commander-in-chief has to act quickly and unilaterally, but the ability to do that has been abused too many times since World War II, to the point where twice presidents have involved the nation in conflicts based upon falsehoods and fabrications, the first time in Vietnam and now in Iraq. I won't even go into Lebanon, Panama, and Grenada. The tiny fraction of the American population who serve and put their lives on the line for us deserve better.
We should also look at several other things that would make for a fairer military outcome in the future.