Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Memorial Days

Or as this article puts it, Memorial Day: One Holiday, Two Countries.

It was written by Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Hope you’ll check it out. They’ve got some pretty intense comments at the end of the article too.

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Here in GRMI, all ceremonies and parades to memorialize the fallen have been moved to the middle of the week to better accommodate the busier lifestyles of those who sacrificed nothing, except the dollar they spent to put a "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbon magnet on their vehicles.

May 30, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Rieckhoff's piece is excellent. I like it that he asks people to take a moment remember and reflect on the sacrifice so many have made, what it means, and to share that with children.

I think more Americans are aware of and appreciative of what our military people go through, and of their sacrifices, nowadays than was the case 20 or 30 years ago. I think that was heightened by 9-11 and broadened to bring about more appreciation of the risks and sacrifices of our police, fire and rescue people, as well.

Most Americans, unless they've recently lost a loved one or very close friend to war, aren't of a nature to stay at home, contemplating and praying, or head out to a cemetery or memorial event, though. I think people know they owe a debt that can never be fully quantified and certainly can't be repaid, and so they go on with working if they must or enjoying a holiday if they can. No disrepect or ingratitude intended, just realization there's not that much they can actually do.

That's why Rieckhoff's suggestions for what to do are so worthwhile. He offers things people actually can do.

May 31, 2010 at 12:54 AM  
Anonymous kate said...

It's a shame Obama will not be at Arlington Cemetery today to honor our country's heroes.

Whether we agree or disagree with the many wars this country has been involved in, there is no denying our brave men and women deserve honor and our respect for "paying the ultimate price".

Many of these fallen heroes never got to attend college, get married, raise a family, vote for a president, see their children grow up, or own their own homes.

It is vital to remember and to reflect on the people who gave us all of the opportunities they never had.

May 31, 2010 at 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Mr. Rieckhof's article was, (cue French accent), how do you say, Pretty weak. My response to his article:

"I hardly think there are any vets in heaven (or wherever), looking down on us and passing judgment because we didn’t do enough memorializing of their sacrifice. Quite contrarily, I think the men and women who died in service of our country would want us to be at the beach, barbecuing in the back yard, or even sitting on our asses watching a Twilight Zone marathon on T.V. You know – enjoying the freedom many of them helped protect.

Yes, veterans who died in service of our country should be memorialized but, for the citizens for whom they served, Memorial Day should be personal. You alluded to that quite nicely in your article. For you to go on to disparage beachgoers and mattress-buyers is a bit contradictory, and pretty presumptuous. How people spend their Memorial Day is their business. For you to assume they don’t think of and appreciate the service of the fallen is pretty ballsy.

And your politicization of Memorial Day in the fourth paragraph of your piece is offensive. In case you didn’t know, Obama’s not the first to miss a ceremony at Arlington. I hope you voiced outrage at these guys’ absence:

- Ronald Reagan
- George H.W. Bush
- George W. Bush

While I won’t spend today in mourning or visiting gravesites, I will think of our fallen veterans, just as I do every year. But how I do it is personal.

Actually, today I’ll be returning a lawn mower to Home Depot with my girlfriend. Does that mean we’re unpatriotic? Does that negate my 21 years of service in the Coast Guard, and her 20 years of service in the Air Force? Do we need to do some penance to make up for not being patrioty enough?

Mr. Rieckhoff: you do the day and yourself a disservice by making wholesale assumptions and condescending judgments about your fellow citizens. Further, your politicization of the day is sad.

Your article fosters both divisiveness and political polarity on a day that should bring us together, and that’s irresponsible in today’s sociopolitical climate.


The next time you write a piece on Memorial Day, try to stay on topic. You zigzag between personal attacks, political barbs, and material you should’ve saved for Veterans Day (last paragraph)."

May 31, 2010 at 6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing like a slap in the face to our fallen military from our nation's president, who will NOT be at Arlington Cemetery for the memorial service.

May 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

I agreed with Reickhoff, except for one point. Obama delivered a fitting commentary at a veterans' cemetary in Chicago. It is important that we remember, not where. Arlington has no monopoly on fallen heroes.

May 31, 2010 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Excellent article! Thank you for posting this, sir!

May 31, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

As we remember the fallen, we must never forget that since at least1960, the evil forces of corporate power and political treachery have sent our servicemen to their deaths.

May 31, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I think it would've been fine and fitting if Obama had gone out to Arlington today, to pay respects.

Considering the pressure on him his whole time in office, and especially lately, I don't blame him for taking the weekend off to be with his young family. We don't need a president who's run ragged and feeling guilty about how little time he's spending with his daughters. Presidents need some R&R, some time out from their daily grind, just like the rest of us. Think of it as an investment in mental health and emotional balance.

There's no lack of respect in this, and the nation doesn't fail to honor its heroes if one year the president doesn't lead the way.

May 31, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Arlington is not the only place these men and women should be thought about. I went to the local National cemetery here, as I do every year with my uncle and his friends to visit their friends who had served/died in Vietnam or after. I get so sick of this whole, we have to almost canonize those at Arlington. Are they the holy of holies because they are in the National cemetery? No, Joe blow who is buried in Middle of nowhere BFE, is just as important as who is buried at Arlington. So what, he did not go there, he went locally in Chicago. Reagan, Poppa and Bush the lesser, never went to Arlington either, why is it now an issue. Rieckhoff gets it right most of the time, this time, ah not so much for me.

May 31, 2010 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

While I understand Carlos' sentiments and I am respectful of his service, I politely disagree.

Americans don't need to go to a military cemetery etc on Memorial Day to honor our dead. Simply remember them and be grateful, and then you can go to the beach barbeque etc.

Jess, Bush Jr did go to Arlington on all Memorial Days except for the one where he went to the American cemetery in Normandy.

I believe the same is true for Reagan.

As for Obama, I saw where his speech today got rained out. Interesting...

May 31, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Since WWII the forces of evil have grabbed American politics by the throat. The Arsenal of Democracy which helped drive Fascism and Imperialism from the face of the earth is still an Arsenal but that is all. The crazed military thinking which gave us Vietnam, turmoil in Central and South America and the current playgrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan show no signs of reason. But on this Memorial Day we are encouraged to bow our head in remembrance while the next moves in the ultimate game are being planned.

May 31, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Bush did not go every year of his presidency. What is interesting about it being rained out? You think it was some kind of political ju jitsu from the invisible sky pixie, to say PO is a bad man or something? Get real please. Presidents' Reagan and poppa Bush did not attend regularly according to a Cnn article I just jit on google. happened to be the first one but I can go get the info from a right leaning site if you would like. Ok so I take back Bush the lesser did not go, he did go except for when he did not go to the D Day commemoration. Po went to a national cemetery in his home state, which he hasn't been to in almost a year. Cannot say that for Bush the lesser who was at Crawford every other month during both terms. Arlington is no more special, than the cemetery I went to today to honor fallen friends of family. It is no more sacred than any of the burial grounds close to anyone here.

May 31, 2010 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

It pisses me off when someone disparages our veterans. It also pisses me off to see Reich Wingers politicizing this holiday with their hateful "Obama's not patriotic", "Democrats hate the military", Liberals coddle terrorists", fill-in-the-blank is an un-American Marxist communist. This kind of crap echoes the very Nazis our veterans fought and died trying to eradicate. Have they no shame?

Although these things really piss me off, something else pisses me off even more. And that is the fact that the evil war criminals walk free from any judgment or accountability for their lies, torture, Constitution shredding, and the very blood of those veterans under the ground they pompously pretended to venerate.

May 31, 2010 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

You all need to remember one thing. Memorials are for the living not the dead.

If only we would spend half as much time energy and money to preventing wars as we do making them... If only.

June 1, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that was me


June 1, 2010 at 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did they mention that Reagan put a wreath on a grave of a SS solder in Germany?

June 1, 2010 at 1:02 PM  

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