Those of you who have been around long enough to remember THIS surely know my feelings on Memorial Day. I want to try and put them into words again today. There is no Dad Blog tilt to this one other than to say I hope this is the type of thing we will all teach our children when they are old enough.
Having just finished watching the HBO miniseries "The Pacific", I have plenty of thoughts about our veterans banging around in my head. The show does the best it can to illustrate the horrors of war that our troops experienced in places like Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
The series finale, airing just two weeks ago, closed out with one of the main characters, Eugene Sledge, sitting under a shady tree with a blank stare on his face. His mother had been chiding him about his lack of movement towards getting a career and starting a life after the war. As she was storming off, Eugene's Dad pulled her aside and said, "You have no idea what men like him have been through."
That simple truth is the inspiration for this post today.
I can be the most ardent supporter of our troops to ever live. I can write a post supporting our fighting forces every single day. I can dedicate my life to their honor. But no matter what I do or how hard I try the simple truth is that I will never know what war is like. I will never know the horror that has been experienced by any soldier serving in any war.
I can never understand.
As we celebrate this Memorial Day American troops are still putting themselves in harms way. In Afghanistan battles are raging right now to retake Taliban controlled areas. In the coming months tens of thousands of US troops will participate in what is being called the biggest operation since the war began. They will all be fighting to gain control of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.
The stakes for our troops are as high today as they were over 60 years ago in the Pacific. They are still putting their lives on the line and fighting through horrors we civilians can't imagine.
Memorial Day is the day we celebrate those who gave their lives in military service. We remember and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Like Lee Greenwood sings for every patriotic occasion, "I am proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died and gave that right to me."
This year I hope you will take time to remember all the troops that survived their respective wars as well. Remember their struggles with the psychological damage that war causes. Remember those troops who are still suffering that nightmare today. The battle doesn't end when their service time is up. It is a life long battle for many of them.
Let's all take the time to say a prayer today for everyone who has ever served in the armed forces. Whether they lived or died they all gave their lives in sacrifice for this country. Each and every one of them are heroes.
Happy Memorial Day.