A REAL MEMORIAL

It feels lazy, but I wrote this a few years ago for Memorial Day and find each year since that I can't restate it better. The best way to honor the memories of dead soldiers is to commit to avoid making more of them in the future through ignorance and surrender to the misconception that war is Cool and somehow good for us as a country in and of itself. Don't buy into the use of holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day to whip up chest-beating jingoism and the glorification of war under the guise of "patriotism."

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22 Responses to “A REAL MEMORIAL”

  1. democommie Says:

    I googled it and couldn't find it, so I'm (c), (Tm), (Sm), gene patenting and scent marking, "Patriojizm".

    Patriojizm (Pay tree O Jizz um) Profanglish: (Nounish):

    1.) A orgiastic display of fauxmance for the U.S. Flag and other symbols of symbolism–rather than a love for the U.S. Constitution and a heartfelt duty to defend it. Often accompanied by fist-pumping, drunkeness, racism and xenophobia before and during athletic events and when watching gibbering reactionary politicians.

    2.) Nah, one's plenty.

    Example in a sentence.

    "Me'n Billybobjoray, we wuz at the Git'n'go and this towelheadjihahdi from, where, billy? Stinkapore, 'zat it? Yeah, Stinkapore. Well, that terrowannabe motherfucker made a face when Mr. Trump was on the teevee talkin' bout how bad them Krauts in Germany are. Well, shit, we ain't gonna take that crap from no damn furriner.

    We beat the shit outta that muzzie bastard (he kept tellin' us that he was a hindu; fuck it; muzzie, hindu, behind–allofem, they's Eyeslammers.

    That was some badass beatdown, it was positivel Patriojizzmic!".

  2. Redleg Says:

    It would be nice if Memorial Day could be a more sombre and introspective occasion rather than just another special day to get our war on. I am an army veteran and it has always bothered me on these days and on veterans day to have people "thank" me for my service. It always seems superficial and pro forma rather than heart-felt. Many veterans I know don't feel they need to be thanked or celebrated but would just like to remember those fallen comrades in peace.

  3. Katydid Says:

    @Demo; Nice–I'm going to steal it from you.

    I was chatting with a friend over lunch today at just how many people claim they luuuuuuve them some military and support the troops and are all "thank you for your service"…if they're so in love with the military, what stopped them from signing up? Also, invariably these folks are anti-gummint, including paying the troops enough to actually live on.

    She's also a former military brat, current military retired. One thing that came out of our upbringing that seems to be utterly lacking in the self-proclaimed patriots is the knowledge that Americans exists in all colors and religions. Another is that people can be not-American and still be wonderul, fantastic human beings.

  4. Katydid Says:

    * that should be "wonderful" not "wonerul"–key's broken.

  5. mago Says:

    The human tendency toward xenophobic tribalism has long been exploited by rapacious ruling classes to further their greedy power/money grabs–all in the name of protecting national interests. Oh yeah, the merchant, military and political classes have run a deadly number on the ignorant. Fuck them and their shortsighted aggressiveness, their propaganda and their death machines.
    Guess that shows my level of compassion. Oh, well.
    Memorial Day, what a crock.

  6. Hondo Says:

    We celebrated by burning a confederate battle flag on the grill.
    Then we grilled a paella.
    Other than that, what you said should be read at every 7th inning stretch instead of the jingoistic song.

  7. Mo Says:

    The goon who slashed three decent people's throats in Portland on Friday when they tried to stop him from threatening and abusing a muslim girl liked to parade around with the flag as a cape. Two dead.

    Time to reclaim our symbols of democracy and freedom from the wingers and nazis; this has gone on long enough and must stop. I carried a large flag in the March for Science [bottom half of a salmon pole worked great, lightweight with a good grip]. Small gesture, but it made me feel better. I plan on waving it at every coming anti-right demonstration I join until we get our government back. [Plus, if there's a breeze, the flapping conveniently clears a spot for you to stand comfortably in the crowd without having someone's pack in your chest]

  8. jcdenton Says:

    The best way to thank a veteran for their service is to make sure that there are fewer veterans in our generation to thank for their service.

  9. democommie Says:

    @Mo:

    Trumpligula, as predictably as shit running down a swer pipe said the the guy who stopped the killer stood up against hatred and bigotry. He conveniently forgot to add that it was hatred and bigotry that he himself ginned up to "win" an election.

    Fucking asshole.

  10. Ten Bears Says:

    All War, all the time. I don't need a tattoo to never forget.

  11. Major Kong Says:

    I get tired of the condescending "thank you for your service" even though they usually mean well.

    You want to thank me for my service? Don't let them f*ck with my military pension and tri-care.

  12. Greg Says:

    I for one am glad to hear from former military that the "praise the soldiers!!!! THANK THEM!" school of social compulsion is as awkward for them as it has always missed the point for me. I want to be able to pay respect for that work without feeling like by doing so I have surrendered to the Right thought police.

  13. democommie Says:

    If you really want to help vets, especially those who are having difficulties in life…give them a lift when you know where there walking and they won't ask for a ride. Buy them the McCrappy* meal when you see them on line at the FF place–or, better yet, a lot of places now sell pre-loaded food cards, buy them one of those. Do some other small kindness without embarassing them.

    I tried to leave a comment yesterday evening and it got sucked into the oubliette of lost genius–not, necessarily mine, mind you–so, I'll re-post the short version.

    With all of the "Thank you for your service types that are around one might be forgiven for thinkng that there is no shortage of volunteers for things like driving the vans that p/u vets for medical appointments at VAMCs which they cannot otherwise get to. Such, sadly, is not the case. The van service for Oswego–Syracuse was discontinued early in 2016–for lack of volunteer drivers. One of the guys I knew who drove was averaging 2-3 days (10-14 hours each day, w/o any remuneration) a week and he WAS a veteran.

    You wanna be seen as appreciative of a veteran's service/sacrifice? Plattiudes are NOT enough.

  14. Prairie Bear Says:

    I think I get the idea pretty well why a lot of troops or ex-troops say they don't really like being told thank you for your service and I respect that, but I wouldn't tell them it anyway. That's because, and there's really no nice way to put this, but I don't thank them. For every war in my lifetime, I didn't want them to do the "service" in the first place,* and their serving actually made things worse. That doesn't mean I blame the individuals either. I'll allow as how there are many who have a sincere feeling of doing something good for the country who just haven't thought things through. The best I was able to do for a while was say I honored the impulse behind the ideal of wanting to serve, but I think there's enough information out there about the phoniness and destructiveness of war that we should wise up already.

    *OK, my opposition to Vietnam was somewhat retrospective, as I was in early grade school when it really got wound up and I was a reactionary, bomb-em-to-the-stone-age little shit. And I even considered, for about five minutes, joining the Army after high school. But by the time of the Gulf War, I didn't believe a word the government said about the situation, and I haven't with any war since.

  15. Prairie Bear Says:

    And also, @democommie, whose latest comment appears to have posted while I was writing, and to everyone else: I should add that I do NOT want to see veterans suffering or punish them, spit on them, etc. I want all the things for veterans: health care, jobs, homes, transportation, rehab and mental health services for PTSD and other issues. And it is 100 percent on our brutal, vicious government to provide them at the highest level of quality that exists. If people want to volunteer to drive vans and such, that's fine, but those efforts should definitely be extra, not necessary for survival.

    Mostly though, I just want the troops to be brought back to the US, and for us not to create any more.

  16. Bobothedorkboy Says:

    But if we con't send all those "surplus males" off to war we'll just end up imprisoning them. Guess we could start using them to colonize the 3rd world again.

  17. Prairie Bear Says:

    @Bobothedorkboy: That's exactly what our military is already doing.

  18. AfghanVet Says:

    I have found that most who, sometimes literally, beat their chest and "war drums" have never been to war and never pass by a recruiting station unless by accident.

    Large scale war like WWII will never happen – at least on the time scale of years. Kinetic warfare beyond the slow burn of FID/UW and counter insurgency is simply too expensive and too complex to prosecute at full tilt for more than 6-12 months at best. The logistics chain is simply to technically complex and expensive (especially if we cut taxes and are told to go shopping). And, not that this isn't always an afterthought, the long-term mortgage of veterans benefits is likely double the actual cost of any conflict.

    This is why you see Russia conducting IO campaigns to destabilize western countries around the world. Divide and conquer from within is much less expensive. However, it takes patience to play the long game and as we know, most westerners are obsessed with speed and instant gratification and so we play checkers against chess masters. In Trump's case we are using the checkers pieces to build little piles of checker's pieces 'cause checkers has too many damn rules.

  19. AfghanVet Says:

    To those in the "What would happen if there was a war and no one showed up?" camp:

    Human nature simply has not evolved to the point where we can solve are differences or curb our impulses to the point where violence will end up occurring regardless of whether it answers anything.

    By all means debate whether "projecting" warfare to proactively defend the country is worthwhile or even possible without unforeseen consequences arising later, but don't mistake the need to defend the culture or the country in which you choose to live with offensive use of the military. Soldiers do not take those decisions. We have to trust that our ELECTED officials will do the right thing. YOU/WE elect those officials.

    I served because I truly believe the ideals of this nation are worth defending. Once one takes the decision to don the uniform, the decision to go to war is no longer the soldier's to take. It's up to the citizens to hold their government accountable for sending their citizens to war.

    So, perhaps it's not in you to serve in such a capacity. That's OK. But, think that others who choose to serve in the military are a cause for war. War will likely be a part of human nature for 1000+ years (if we survive that long). And, if you think your ability to practice non-violence won't be taken away from you without someone willing to practice violence to protect your right, then I think you are mistaken. So, please, if thanking a veteran is the only thing you can do, it's also the least you can do.

    Some men choose the job, some jobs choose the man.

  20. democommie Says:

    I'm pretty much squarely between 10 Bears and AfghanVet, I think.

    I think that China Shop rules should apply (they often do not): if the gummint sends to someplace where you're liable to get blowed the hell up it should be on them to take care of you if you survive.

    I enlisted in 1968 for several reasons but the proximate cause of my enlisting was NOT wanting to get blowed the hell up. I chose the AF as the best bet for achieving that lifegoal. It worked out that I went to Germany for all but 5 of my 49 months in uniform. Had I received orders to go to Vietnam I would have done so, regardless my feelings about the war (unless I had understood it to be the shit show that it was–in that case I would have probably either gone to Canada or been a draft resister).

  21. AfghanVet Says:

    Multiple apologies for the absolute s%&t show of grammatical error and misspellings. Just in a rush.

  22. democommie Says:

    @AfghanVet:

    In the words of the immortal Julia Child, never apogogize, just pretend that's the way a REAL souffle is supposed to look! {;>)

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