Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket! Happy Memorial Day to all! This day is reserved for the remembering of fallen soldiers, who died in the service of their country…a country that has been blessed by so many gifts. We think back to the beginning, the Revolutionary War, and the epic battle over tyranny and the defense of a newly formed document forging the immortal words, “All men are created equal…”, “Of the people, by the people and for the people,” and “WE THE PEOPLE”. As this young country emerged into a real nation of laws, we entered another dangerous phase of our development, as brother was pitted against brother in the bloodiest war this country ever fought, a war it fought with itself, the Civil War. Fighting for the acid test of our Forefathers words, the Union defeated the Confederate south in the most obvious of all battles–freeing ALL men and women, forced to these shores a century earlier to work the plantations as slaves, thereby re-enforcing the definition of our birthright…The Bill of Rights. The struggles against blatant aggression continued into the early 20th century, with a young country entering the conflicts of its origin, Europe, defending allies created in “time”… By the 1930’s, the United States was again called upon to help rid the world of other ruthless dictators, however, this time it was fought on two fronts–a Pacific and European theater–where we saw our finest hour, thus far– hence the title of, coined by Tom Brokaw, “The Greatest Generation.” The heroes of World War II gave this country its true freedom and defined what a country can do when it pulls together as one… It was not until 1950 that the U.S. was pulled into another conflict and another threat to our “way of life”– Communism, (China and her influence on an unstable North Korea). Called a police action, the North Korean conflict came to an end a few years later as an armistice was declared and the North and South of the Korean peninsula was split down the 38th parallel. However, we were not through with Asia, for in 1968 the attention of the world was now focused on Vietnam. This unholy war, fought through the foggy eyes of politics, was to claim over 58,000 of our young men and women–far to high a price to have paid for a draw. Simultaneously, we were fighting a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union, now Russia, whose giant stock piles of nuclear weapons, only outmatched by our own, could have blown the world away thousands of times over. This made for an uncomfortable stretch during one of the greatest Presidents’ tenures, Jack Kennedy, when he blocked the ships coming from the Soviet Union carrying nuclear war heads to the island of Cuba…a move that most assuredly saved the world from nuclear obliteration. During the seventies, after the Vietnam war came to a sad close, the U.S. saw relative peace, and as Ronald Reagan demanded Russian President Gorbachev to, “tear down this wall”, and he did, the world saw the end to the Cold War stalemate between the two world “Superpowers”. The Soviet Union fell, along with the Eastern Bloc, by 1988 and as the United States moved into a new era of freedom from fear, peace began to breathe a deep breath once again. It was not until the year of 2003, when the previous administration, George W. Bush’s reign, made the landmark decision to enter another hot zone with all of its’ military muscle–the Middle East. Of course, this was argued to be a part of the war in Afghanistan, a small conflict designed to take out the man who was allegedly responsible for the attack on our soil, September 11th, 2001–Osama Bin Laden. The fact that we never found him, is still a mystery, however, we left our brave men and women their to continue to the new “fight” and war–the “War on Terror”. This ambiguous and elusive war, no conventional “enemy” to “fight”, left us on unsteady and unfamiliar ground. As the previous administration geared up to take down yet another dictator, Saddam Husein, the President of Iraq, a sovereign country that offered the U.S. no credible threat, the American people were left in the dark–told lies concerning “weapons of mass destruction” and therefore, brainwashed the imperative to fight them over there, before we have to fight them “over here”… The manufactured evidence created by the Bush/Cheney crew was forced down the throats of the American people, as we all sat in the dark during a seeming eternity, from the years of 2001 to 2008, some actually believing the lie to be the TRUTH. Over 4200 soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq since that war began– seven full years after an infamous banner was displayed on an American aircraft carrier that read, “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.” We look now at the veterans returning and see the devastation therein. Many of these young men and women are emotionally scared. PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, an invisible disease that renders its’ victims paralyzed with an inner fear that keeps them stuck in a constant state of readiness (hyper-alertness), unable to put down their guard, for they are still fighting a war, has now become an epidemic in the United States military. A war that, for them, ended a long time ago… What’s more, these brave men and women who come back from both Afghanistan and Iraq are often treated in the same manner that the vets of the Vietnam war were–however, this time it is not hate that they face, rather ambivalence…which is far worse. Having no direction, many of these men turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve the intense pain, albeit invisible to the naked eye, they feel every twenty four hours of the very long day. We owe our freedom and our lives to all of these men and women who have fought so bravely under the flag of the blessed stars and stripes. For it was their bravery on the shores of Normandy to Okinawa, Saigon to Kabul, that we honor them today. Politics should never enter this sacred day, for even if a war was morally bankrupt, the soldiers who fought and died should be forever remembered for HOW they fought…standing up and taking a bullet for all of the freedoms that we cherish today. May GODS SPEED be with you on this day, and may GOD continue to bless the United States of America–“The Land of the Free and Home of the BRAVE.” Peace~ M
May 31, 2010
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