Tomorrow countless families and friends all across the country will gather in places like backyards, beaches, and lakefronts and mindlessly party. From personal experience, always a very narrow perception of reality I admit, most will not have the slightest idea of why May 28th is not a regular business day. Sure, television commercials have blared advertisements for a couple of weeks now declaring “Memorial Day” sales but I am willing to bet money that except for a very few actual awareness of what the day means is limited.
Now before anyone gets the wrong idea I was NOT in favor of the war in Iraq and feel we need to pull out of Afghanistan as fast as logistically possible. Untold billions have already disappeared over our little adventures and will continue to be sucked down some fiscal black hole as the bills come due. My problem is with those civilians who gleefully supported the wars without actually having to pay the price in family blood. Once again, I have to bring up the fact that the day after Pearl Harbor men all across the United States willingly lined up in front of recruiting offices ready to fight. After the attacks on 9/11 no such massive show of real patriotism materialized. As the months after the World Trade towers fell went by with various members of the Bush Administration and allied pundits declaring we were in a “War of Civilizations” with the forces of evil that attacked the country for the most part the majority went about its usual business. I was still in the National Guard when all this happened and it was funny watching the recruiters scratch their heads in amazement as interest in joining the military evaporated like a snowball in the Sahara with not one but two wars looming.
I was lucky, by 2005 I had become very cynical but with having twenty-one years of service I filed my retirement papers and got the hell out. For the very few that joined and those already in the service the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became an annual rotating nightmare for them and their families. I know a few guys and gals that did four combat tours but to a person none of their marriages survived and despite laws and assurances that their civilian jobs would be waiting when they returned many of them ran into strange circumstances making that promise a joke. While they can and have to a certain extent picked up the pieces of their lives those that came home missing a limb or with severe mental trauma, those wars will stay with them until the day they die.
Please excuse my attitude, for all intents and purposes I am a peacetime veteran who joined during the safe and secure days of the Cold War when a possible conflict with the Soviet Union was viewed almost universally as an incredibly bad idea leading to global nuclear war. For what it is worth, I am proud of my service and grateful for the incredible things the military gave me the opportunity to try. While in the service I met the absolute best America had to offer, and that was in peacetime. Those that have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan war and their families are damn near demigods as far as I am concerned for putting up with the huge amount of crap offered up by cowardly politicians and a civilian population I will refrain from describing.
Adding further insult to injury read up on the amount homeless American veterans. I could write entirely independent posts on the suicide rate of veterans and active duty troops, the financial problems their families back home face, and many other issues further leading me to believe the land of the free is occupied with nothing but self-centered and delusional children.
The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.
The Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.
Stop by and check out:
National Veterans Homeless Support, Inc.
"We Fought Together; Once, Forever"