I got one of those chain prayer emails today, but this one was a little different. It was loaded with pictures of soldiers, their families and many with respect to their fallen comrades. They were truly touching, not like the mass amount of "People From Wal Mart" photos that my friends like to send me.
Memorial Day means something to America and to all true Americans. It reminds us of the extreme cost of freedom. Freedom isn't free, and that's more than just a refrain to a well-known song.
I didn't serve in the military, but I spent a like number of years as a police officer. It's not the same, but it helps me understand the esprit de corps of serving on a team with missions that involve the possibility that you will be killed because of your badge and uniform and what you represent.
This weekend, let's celebrate and honor our warriors, both past and present, here and abroad, The soldier serves and does as he is ordered. Regardless of your politics, I hope you value and respect those who serve in our military as much as I do.
I have several friends overseas, stationed in actual war zones, whether they are called war zones or not. I know or work with other folks who have kids in the service, many of them serving overseas in war zones as I write these very words.
I have a good friend I played in a band with and worked professionally with in law who now works for the federal government and is on assignment in Afghanistan, and everytime I hear of an explosion over there I have to read about it to see if my friend is safe.
Same with the military folks I know. When you hear of a major blowup at or near the location(s) they are serving near (if you actually know), you have to read about it and wonder just for a moment and often times longer until ID's are released if it's someone I know.
And of course, it really doesn't make it any less personal when you don't personally know the servant of our government who dies on assignment from some terroristic act. No matter who they are, they're Americans, just like us. Those who serve us deserve our respect.
When I was coming up in my 20's, not so very long ago, we didn't have many service related deaths amongst my peers and friends who went into the service. We didn't have any "public" wars going on at that time, after the end of Vietnam. And from the mid-seventies until the First Gulf War came along and here we were, for the first time since Vietnam, in an actual public (i.e. not secret or low profile) war.
We had horrible incidents during that time, like the hostages in Iran. And tons of other trouble all over the world. But no big wars until the First Gulf War. But by and large from the mid-seventies until the late-eighties, I wasn't losing any friends who were serving in the military.
Since then we've been losing too many Americans. Not to mention the tragic civilian deaths from terrorism. Remember what these folks, most of them very young, do everyday to protect your freedom. Thank them for their service if you see them out and around. Thank the ones you know especially. Let these folks know that the people back home care about them.
Back in WWII, when my parents were from about 10 years old to 15 years old, they absorbed the war going on around them and had relatives that served in the military. Although little kids at the start of WWII, they had no choice but to growup in a war-time economy and society. They had respect for the military and those who served.
Vietnam, combined with the many, great social changes that transpired starting in the 1960's, changed the perception of some individuals as to the honor of serving our country in an unpopular "police action". I know there are still folks like that around today. Naysayers to honoring our heros in uniform.
I think a lot of folks are just like me and share my beliefs, and that the naysayers are in the minority. I hope each and every one of you has a great holiday weekend and thank all those reading this who are in the service for serving our country. Whenever I run into uniforms in public, which is not infrequent in many parts of Texas, I always thank them for their service.
I hope you do the same.