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   xoxoxoBruce  Monday May 30 12:00 AM

May 30th, 2016: Memorial Day

Ah, Memorial Day, three day weekend, the unofficial start of Summer, the Indy 500, BBQs and beer… and something else…
Oh yes, to honor the millions of men and women who died in the US military and are buried around the world… or just disappeared.

Along with parades, bands, and Girl Scouts with flowers, you’ll hear a lot of speeches using brave, courageous, valiant, but that’s
rah rah bullshit. Human nature tells us some were brave, some shitting their pants, but I suspect most were numb, doing their job,
what they were trained to, as best they could, hoping for the best.

Why they went into the military was an individual thing,
~Son, the bailiff is going to take you to the recruiter, or the County jail, your choice.
~It’s the only way I’m getting out of this jerkwater town, and impress the hell out of Cindy Lou.
~I might as well sign up, it maybe a better deal than if they draft me.
~The Military will teach me a trade, send me to school.

All the way to…
~I’m gonna murder those dirty bastards.
~Me and God will show them they can’t mess with the USA.
~I’ll teach them Johnny-Rebs/Yankees/Huns/Nazis/Japs/Commies/Rag Heads/terrorists/ a lesson.

Unfortunately a lot of those men and women who were sent on the follies of politicians, never to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice.
So on Memorial day most Americans thank them by enjoying those fruits.
But you know what, that just may be the most truly sincere thank you.

The ones who did come home, like my Dad,

we honor on Friday November 11th, Veterans Day, even if they came home without legs, arms, eyes, or the will to live.

Snakeadelic  Monday May 30 08:24 AM

So many Americans still have no idea what exactly Memorial Day is about. My mom remembers, largely because her only brother (and only younger sibling) was lost in the Pacific in about 1983. He was Air Force Search & Rescue and was never heard from again after leaving the rescue plane in the middle of a freakin' typhoon trying to rescue the crew of another craft. It's believed he hit a piece of wreckage instead of clear water. If not for his courage, I might also be one of the many Americans who forget that this holiday wasn't originally about alcohol and conspicuous consumption.

I don't celebrate Veterans' Day. Whether a soldier saw combat is of no importance to me--those who serve assume the risk of injury and/or death regardless of the political atmosphere at the time. Instead of confining my gratitude for their willingness to take that chance, I help veterans whenever I can. We have a neighbor who's constantly fighting with the VA over his level of disability; he acquired a knee injury in the service and his VA care team does not feel such an injury could have significant impacts on his hip and spine. Every non-VA doctor he's seen insists that the knee injury has de-stabilized and injured the hip on that side as well as his spine. I celebrate veterans by being good to them at any chance all year long. I have a garage half-full of things that belong to the widow of the veteran who once lived downstairs, and I do not charge a storage fee. When the fella duking it out with the VA needs food I sling home-cooked leftovers his way. It feels like the right thing to do.

xoxoxoBruce  Monday May 30 05:06 PM

Head count...

Of course the number who survive, even though very fucked up, has increased dramatically with medical attention quicker. Starting with MASH in Korea, helicopters are key to rapid extradition. and guys like sexo are capable of miracles in the field. But honestly, when I see pictures of some who have been saved, I wonder if it's the right thing. Ethically of course, yes, no question. I'm not talking about Tom Cruise in a wheelchair here, some survive so maimed the life they face a life makes me wonder if we did them a favor.

Of the many fuckups in my life, one most vivid was maybe twenty years ago I stopped at WAWA to buy a lighter. Fishing for my wallet, I didn't pay attention girl behind the counter. She fetched the lighter and when she turned around her face was horribly disfigured, likely partially burned. I stared so hard I didn't even notice when she set the lighter on the counter and put her hand out for the money. When I realized what I'd done I dropped my eyes in shame and beat a hasty retreat. I went back several times determined to not make her uncomfortable, but she was never there again. Probably quit after one day, at least partially because of me. It haunts me to this day.

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