Monday, May 30, 2005

Thoughts on Memorial Day

I know a lot of people have posted things about Memorial Day, and though I don't usually do things like this, I wanted to post something about it because it has been on my mind. I don't like flags and ribbons and other stuff like that on my car and I don't like wearing pins or ribbons on my shirt because things like that are so easy to do and are usually the full extent of what people do. They put a ribbon on their car and think that that makes them patriotic and supportive of soldiers. I don't like that kind of self-deception or two-faced kind of attitude. People who see me in passing may very well think I'm not patriotic or supportive, but that is far, far from the truth.

I served my country. My husband served. My father served in WWII. My father-in-law served during Vietnam (though he didn't go there). His father served in WWII and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. My brother-in-law who raised me is a career airman. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are important days in our family.

So if you have the opportunity today to say thank you to someone who served or is serving their country, then do so. It doesn't matter what country you live in. All nations (well, most) have armed forces, and in most nations they are voluntary. Yes, many of these people see an opportunity for travel or for a better life or for money for college, but they also have pride in and feel duty to their country. They protect everyone's homes and everyone's family. And they frequently sacrifice quite a lot. Even the soldiers/airmen/Marines/sailors who live and work stateside work long hours, have stressful jobs, and are on call 24-7/365 days a year.

And don't forget about them tomorrow or next week or a year from now. Post 9/11 everyone was talking about supporting the troops and sending things to soldiers overseas, but that has dropped off quite a bit. And did anyone do all of that before 9/11? It is sad that it takes such a tragedy for people to appreciate what is being done for them, and for everyone. I served in the Army for four years, before 9/11, and not once did anyone but my family and friends ever say thank you or send me anything. I'm not crying for myself, but if I, working stateside, in a huge city, never felt or saw thanks from the people around me, then most other soldiers didn't have that either.

And don't let politics keep you from being appreciate of their service either. There were plenty of things that the President, or Congress or the Army did while I was active duty that I didn't agree with. Service members don't have a choice about those things, and they have no control over them. Frequently they serve and sacrifice despite being opposed to politics going on at the time. And they usually hope they can be part of things changing for the better.

I'm sorry that this may sound like a lecture, but it has been on the front burner for me for a long time, and especially today.

Here's a song that I have been listening to occasionally for a few weeks, and that I wish had been out while I was in the Army. It is very moving and makes me feel proud of the things that Steve and I did in the Army.

Lyrics to:
American Soldier
by Toby Keith and Chuck Cannon
See the music video here.

I'm just trying to be a father
Raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother
Everything to everyone
Up and at 'em, bright and early
I'm all business in my suit
Yeah, I'm dressed for success
From my head down to my boots

I don't do it for money,
there's still bills that I can't pay
I don't do it for the glory,
I just do it anyway
Providing for our future's my responsibility
Yeah, I'm real good under pressure,
being all that I can be

And I can't call in sick on Mondays
When the weekend's been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays
And sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready
When the wolf growls at the door
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady
Hey, I'm true down to the core

And I will always do my duty,
no matter what the price
I've counted up the cost,
I know the sacrifice
Oh, and I don't want to die for you
But if dyin's asked of me
I'll bear that cross with an honor
Cause freedom don't come free

I'm an American soldier, an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters
I will proudly take a stand
When liberty's in jeopardy,
I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the frontlines,
sleep in peace tonight
American soldier,
I'm an American soldier

Yeah, an American soldier, an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters
I will proudly take a stand
When liberty's in jeopardy,
I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the frontlines,
so sleep in peace tonight
American soldier, I'm an American
An American
An American soldier

In Memory of Emmett Bernard Sanderson


Misty G said...

That was a great post! And I love that song too:)

Jean said...

Thanks, Beverly. Nicely said.

Tara Marie said...

Thank you, beautifully put.

Jill said...

Just wanted to say beautiful post.

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