Memorial Day

“…let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude – the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” -General John Logan

“The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Last Memorial Day my husband was deployed. I spent the weekend in Washington, DC, walking through Arlington with his extended family, and went to the National Memorial Day concert on the lawn of the Capitol to honor and remember the fallen.

It was one of the hardest days of my life. Not because my husband wasn’t with me, but because I realized the blessing it was to have him alive – and I felt guilty seeing all the young wives on the Hill, many with children, whose spouses were being honored as the Fallen and not the Fighting.

Many of my readers are members of military families. To date, most of those families are intact. Some aren’t. Please know how much I love every single one of you. I love you so much, and I consider you my family.

I read a headline this morning: “Memorial Day Weekend: Tacos, Beer, Movies & Kayaking.” I hope everyone is enjoying their day off. But lest you forget, you’re Kayaking, Taco-ing, Movie Watching and Boozing today in honor of every man, woman and family who has paid the price for your right to debauchery. Take a minute to remember that.

I often discuss what’s wrong with the food and health care systems in this country. I’d be proud to advocate ending the government’s subsidizing of lifestyle diseases in favor of giving a few extra sheckles to Veteran’s programs. Because, in the end – whether you agree with the Politics of War or not – it’s the soldiers who agree, politics aside, to do whatever their country, whether healthy or sick, asks of them. Their commitment is not conditional. It transcends personal opinion, fear, family and government squabbles. It’s a beautiful, painful, inimitable thing.

It’s the soldiers who preserve our right to sickness, health, veganism, idealism, beer drinking and kayaking. They are charged with defending the lives and the livelihood of the grateful and the ungrateful; the Monsantos and the small farmers alike. Sometimes this demand is applied inappropriately, and the resultant turmoil is heart-wrenching.

Whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent;  whether flag waver or flag burner; you reap the benefits gleaned from the lives of our soldiers. No one is exempt from the debt of gratitude we owe every member of the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, as well as their families. This day is one of deep gratitude and solemn remembrance.






4 Comments to “Memorial Day”

  1. Well said! Great post!

  2. I can’t imagine how heart-wrenching it must be to walk through Arlington while your husband is deployed. Military spouses are truly the unsung gems of our troops’ support system.

  3. Ill probably regret this, but maybe it will cause some to think critically…

    First let me say that I’m sorry you’re husband is away from you and that he returns in one piece, mentally and physically. Second, that I wish all of our troops would come home safely from the over 130 countries they are currently in, immediately.

    Third, let me pose a question or two. You say that without soldiers serving, killing, and dying, we would not be able to enjoy our kayaks, tacos, or beer. You imply that we would not be free without them.

    Yet, in the mid 60s to mid 70s, America engaged in a conflict in SE Asia which took the lives of close to 60,000 men and permanently damaged hundreds of thousands of others in some way. We lost that war. I lost family who I never got to meet (that were forced to kill and die with the government’s threat of enslavement). So we lost this war – no doubt about it, and did the so called “freedoms” of one single American suffer? Were the North Vietnamese ever about to stage an Omaha style beach landing in Malibu? Did any Iraqis ever threaten our beer swilling and taco eating?

    And no, I’m not a “hippie liberal.” I have friends and family in the military and tell them the same things.

    I read this blog and others like it for nutritional info and recipes, which is why I was sad to see posts like this all across the blogosphere.

    • Hi Josh,

      First, I think you have interpreted my words as having said that without the current military actions being propagated abroad, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our kayaks, tacos and beer. I didn’t say that. However, I don’t think anyone could deny that such a statement could be true, whether referencing today’s soldiers or soldiers from decades ago. The fact is, current events aside, the protection of these simple rights and our way of life – more fragile than we tend to realize – falls upon the military. They are tasked with the protection of our kayaks and beer should the need ever arise. I can think of many conceivable events where I would be quick to rely on their services. Overall, though, the point was that this day isn’t for celebrating a day off work with beer and kayaks. It’s about mourning those lost and honoring those serving, remembering their sacrifice and what it means to how we live today – whether it means we kayak freely or we live the rest of our lives mourning a family member lost in a legitimate, illegitimate, protective or personal war.

      I never said in my post whether I support the military actions of today. Some feel that not expressly stating such a thing means I do support them, but I disagree. I’m talking about people here – soldiers are people; some of the best we have, and their honor isn’t sullied in any way by serving in a war that they, you, me, or anyone else vehemently opposes. Memorial day is a day to separate the soldier from the politics (a point to which I alluded several times in this post).

      I never understood the life of a soldier or the workings of the military until I married into it, and I can honestly say that while my politics (deliberately left out of this post) have not changed, I love and support and remember and care for every single person making the sacrifice in honor of a larger purpose. I appreciate what you’ve said and have certainly heard it before, but one day of the year I think it’s fair to honor the soldiers over the politics of war.

      Also, I haven’t promised to maintain one line of subject matter – that’s the beauty of a blog – and now and then I allow it to be more personal (mother’s day, father’s day, and days that honor my distinguished husband and his colleagues). I did make a barbecue sauce that I was very proud of, which should tide everyone over until the next recipe post.

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