Honoring Our Soldiers, and Those Who Fight For Them
Anybody who is willing to die for me is my hero. On Memorial Day, we remember the fallen and honor the men and women in uniform. And we should never forget the people who are fighting just as hard to keep them out of danger. George W. Bush is a girly-man who went AWOL from his duties and is not fit to come out of his hidey-hole on May 30st, much less wear a uniform and shake hands with real soldiers. But that shouldn't stop us from honoring those who serve. As John Kerry, a real war hero, said, we should separate the war from the warriors. Kerry was not only a hero while in combat, he was a hero after his service because he tried to get his fellow soldiers out. All soldiers who got out of Vietnam alive owe John Kerry and the anti-war movement their lives, just as we owe the soldiers who died in the war our eternal gratitude.
I don't apologize for failing to fit comfortably within current political labels. Heroes are not heroes because of their ideology, they're heroes because they are fighting for you and me.
He gets up on his soapbox.
Our men and women in uniform are outstanding. They are the best. They are the best trained soldiers in the world, but that's not why they're the best. They have the strongest, most up-to-date weaponry in the world, but that's not why they're the best. They have the most experience military leaders, but that's not why they're the best.
Our soldiers are outstanding because what they are fighting for is outstanding. Any Pvt. Tom, Sgt. Dick or Capt. Mary can be trained to shoot a gun, but only American soldiers know that they are fighting for the USofA.
Merely being well-trained soldiers is not enough: The Soviet Army was good, but they were fighting for the Soviet Union and that was ultimately demoralizing enough that they lost their effectiveness and the USSR collapsed without a shot. Terrorists/insurgents may be fighting for clan or land, but suicide bombers will be forgotten long before their desperate fight is rendered meaningless. All soldiers are taught that they fight an important cause, but politicians and religious zealots will say anything for selfish motivation. The United States brings people together under the rule of law, and our soldiers know that they are fighting for their families, their country and the Constitution that makes us one. Terrorism is the tool of the powerless. A strong military under civilian rule is the pride of the powerful.
This country is best defined by the first half of the first line in the Constitution:
We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union....
The King did not bestow. G_d did not grant. History did not decree. We, the people, in union, are writing this set of laws.
We are not perfect, and we never will be. Perfection is for G_d, and we are striving toward perfection. We will never get there, but we're sure going to try.
Striving to fix flaws in a great country is is an act of patriotism no less than joining the armed forces. Protecting our men and women in uniform who are protecting the country is an act of heroism. We know soldiers are there when needed, and we on the homefront want to ensure that you make the ultimate sacrifice only when needed. We know you'll fight where sent and follow orders. Death in service to your country is worth of honor, even if the battle was determined by selfish political motives and not military necessity.
I am a man of peace, but I am not a pacifist. There are times when war is necessary, but they are few. Weak politicians love to make threats that other people die for. Sometimes soldiers get killed when there is another way. We must separate the war from the warrior. In doing so, we must honor those who fight against the war. The warriors fight the battle, and we the people fight to bring them home when the battle no longer serves the country.
To those who support war based on lies and outside interests I say: You are doing this country harm.
To those who are against war I say: Remember that our soldiers are fighting for you.
To our soldiers I say: We've got your back.
There are heroes aplenty. There are too many dead heroes.
This Memorial Day, let us remember the fallen and make sure that they are honored for their ultimate sacrifice. And let us, too, honor those patriots who are trying to form a more perfect union.
He kicks away the soapbox. Touching solid earth, misty-eyed, he looks up at the flag.