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In honor of Memorial Day — repeat

American Heroes II

I wrote this post last year and I just read it.  I don’t think I could say anything better so I’m just reposting it

 

Today is Memorial Day and I honestly didn’t really prepare anything special “blog wise” for it but I did want to say something.  As you know, I spent the previous week down at Duke Hospital with my daughter.  What you don’t know is that directly across from Duke Hospital is a large Veteran’s Administration Hospital (VA) that has been there forever and ever.

 

I remember when I used to go down to see my brother at Duke Hospital when I was a kid and this ugly red brick building was there and it’s still red brick and it’s still ugly although not quite as ugly as it used to be.  I couldn’t help pondering what was going on in that hospital as we waiting in the surgical waiting area that had a bank of windows overlooking the VA hospital.

 

Were those people getting the care we were getting?  Were their families with them? Were they being paged with updates on the status of the patients they were waiting for? Or were they just there for long-term illnesses and problems, victims of forgotten wars of long ago.

 

I wondered, as they were telling us that Keely might lose her leg, were there many amputees over there; victims of landmines and other explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan?  It made me really think of the military and my relationship with it.

 

My dad was in the Korean War although he was safely ensconced in Maryland doing research for chemical warfare.  My uncles and father in law were in World War II although they obviously made it out alive and for the most part, unscathed.  But what about the millions of people who didn’t?

 

This weekend is about remembering those who gave their lives for this country and more and more, those people are from an underclass that uses the military as a way to get an education and a skill; as a way out of whatever economic climate they’re currently in.

 

I don’t think that’s fair.  The more disenfranchised the “upper class” gets from the military, the easier it is to go to war or “start a war.”  After all, if you have no “skin in the game” the consequences don’t directly affect you.  I personally believe that we should be more like Israel with a mandatory requirement to serve your country after high school for each and EVERY citizen.

If this happened, then everyone would know what it was like to serve and every parent would know what it was like to feel the fear of having a child serving during an active war.  While I don’t really agree with war and I’m certainly not advocating it, it’s never really directly affected me but there are millions of other parents fretting at every minute while their children defend MY freedoms.

 

I don’t think it’s fair.  I just know that more and more, people are completely removed from the realities of war and the more this happens, the easier it is to make decisions to go to war.

 

On this Memorial Day, I want to thank the men and women who have given their life for this country, my country, to make it safe.  My freedom was hard won and I know it wasn’t by me but I certainly do appreciate it.

 

To each and every person, Happy Memorial Day and think of all the people who have served and are serving even as we speak.

 

Thank you,

 

Lynn MacDonald

 

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