I always wondered why they made a wine especially for Memorial Day until someone clued me in recently. Just kidding. I never developed a taste for it-regardless the year of its vintage. I can’t say that about Strawberry Hill or Annie Green Springs. Theirs (when cold) were a fleeting 70’s friendship and one that was a refreshing difference from warm beer or warm T & Ts. Southeast Asia, in my time, was noticeably remiss on creature comforts like electricity and refrigeration. Fortunately for all, Scotch did not require this treatment.
This year I received lots of suggestions for subjects to write on but most have been lip-whipped to death by endless politicians who never saw the insides of a pair of boots-combat or otherwise. I take that back. Many of them are avid skiers.
Who woulda thunk Waterloo, as a place name, would ever become famous in America? Why, look no further than 53 years after Napoleon Bonaparte’s fustercluck than Waterloo, New York and the inception of celebrating the memory of our Civil War fallen rather than engaging actively in causing them to fall on the field of battle.
I was always told one of Plato’s axioms was “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Turns out it was another of George Santayana’s observations-he of the mind that all civilizations forget their heritage every fifty or so years. Boy howdy is that ever true now. I was born and raised in the south – very south I might add- of the Mason Dixon Line. None of us ever thought of ourselves as white or any other color-and certainly not with any capitalization either.¹ About 1965, when I was still 14, blacks were granted total freedom to move about the country. As I had not attained the age of majority, I cannot say I was party to any racism. I served alongside, and lived with blacks in SEA and never considered myself better (or worse). While I regret what has befallen their lot over the centuries, I didn’t contribute to their misery. Why the 1619 Project? I’d blame the British for that business. We didn’t take over hereabouts until 1785 and sure didn’t write the statutes and regulations back then. Considering we fixed slavery with a Civil War less than 80 years after taking over upper management actually speaks volumes considering it takes politicians years to bipartisanly agree to even put up a stop sign.
The pursuit of happiness on Memorial Day takes on an entirely unique meaning and not what you think. Those Vets who died defending America, either here or on foreign shores, had a hankering to maintain their right to life and liberty as well and a lot more. We have a wonderful country and are blessed. Sure, it has a few warts and wrinkles that need ironing out but this constant drum roll of denigration about how horribly racist we are suddenly is a bit much. If America was so horrible since 1619, how come nobody mentioned it until recently? Seems if something is that FUBAR, we would have litigated it to death and made it illegal.
America IS great and pretty much always has been- or attempted to be- ever since her creation. We’ve been more than willing to send our warrior class to foreign countries to defend inequities and promote democracy. Hell, we didn’t even charge like the Hessians and other mercenary types do. I do know my readership and I doubt even one of them thinks I’m inherently racist. Just because I’m white-ish colored doesn’t automatically signal political affiliation or affluence. I’m an American-and even more- I’m a Veteran. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve ever done except throwing eggs at Officer Rohrbaugh’s cop car on June 4, 1969. I shook his hand afterwards through the bars of my cell door and let on I had no hard feelings. We’re good.
I admire anyone who joins the military and serves. Having done so, I know the ration of shit they go through. Military service may be getting a bit snowflakey in this day and age but they try. As for offering sex change operations to fix what these soldiers discover after they sign up, it’s a bit disingenuous if you ask me. It smacks of ulterior motives for why they joined.
My son just informed me I need to put something down at the bottom of my emails now that tells all the world of my identity and “preferred pronouns”. I, me, my and mine come to mind. I googled it and it sounds a bit schizophrenic. Who wants to be known as “we”, “Us” or “they”. It’s like a heapin’ helpin’ of Sybils to me. I’ve never thought of myself in the third person. Fact is I don’t know anyone who does. Seriously, can you see yourself telling your friends about your LGBTQRS dog and how “we” were overdue for “their” Parvo booster. In the obverse, can you imagine one of your friends doing it? Better yet, let’s back the boat back up to the dock, Gilligan, and spell it “Awake” or “awoke”. Merriam Webster is undoubtedly rolling over in his grave right now and everyone in Oxford is all atwitter (no pun intended).
But I wander afield. Memorial Day is certainly more than the sum of its Fallen. It’s the celebration of being able to celebrate; to celebrate with those of your own color or to mingle with many ethnicities who share one common trait- being Americans; perforce to celebrate with those who share your religion or-gasp- political affinity. America is a composite of well-meaning souls and total idiots. My father said we all have the right to remain stupid. We have the right to be QANON chuckleheads, chemtrail sniffers, white supremacists and Antifa miscreants. I do not advocate for these groups and would not associate with them but, like any openminded person, I certainly do not say they should be reduced to second class citizenship. If New York’s mayor thinks an attempted murderer should be let out on P.R. until his trial, then justice is defective. As the Forest Gump character opined in the movie, a box of chocolates representing life is full of intriguing possibilities.
Those are my Memorial Day sentiments. Well, that and I think my Uncle Jay should have gotten more medals than a Bronze Star for the 67-kilometer Bataan Marathon and Fun Run. Or, as our new illustrious President declared last week, a “Brown Star”. Who knew? They’re handing these out to guys who squared away the Burn Pits in Iraqistan? Awesome. Long overdue.
Ronald Reagan said it best:
“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A Veteran doesn’t have that problem.”
Americans are unique. We are welcoming of strangers if they bear us no malice. Our military is rife with those who seek citizenship via their service. It’s almost like a cemetery-folks are dying to get inside our wire. But, if you piss off the citizenry, you’ll find we remain myopically dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t get between us and our BBQs.
¹ Based on the comments below, it behooves me to clarify that I was “pre-literate” inasmuch as I was still unskilled in the art of reading and writing in my formative years between 3 and 8 (1954-1959). Naturally, someone who is “woke” would feel compelled to come here to announce racism abounds among children three years old and older. Oddly, most who complain of rampant racism a) never set foot in the south during those years; b) never set eyes on a “whites-only” water fountain, and; c) are predominantly Caucasian like me. Go figure. As for my political leanings, I identify as “American”. The term “Trumpist” is a pejorative manufactured to describe anyone who hasn’t received their vaccinations, doesn’t plan to, and disagrees with the current, reigning political establishment.
Has anyone ever considered America has existed for over 200+ years and almost all of the perceived ills have only now been uncovered in the last 10? Who would ever think that Martin Luther King’s most famous immortal words (i.e., content of character versus color of their skin) would be rent asunder fifty years later by the very folks who aspire to lift them up? Shades of Mr. Santayana…
Lastly, I would point out that any art or videos presented here are sent in to me by you, the reader. I do not feel they express the beliefs of the readership as a whole. I offer them as entertainment only. I reiterate for the dense- this Day allows us all to celebrate the right to celebrate. Innumerable Veterans died to ensure that right. Any and all who disagree with what I write merely confirm the truth of this axiom. It’s an art form now lost in the rush to wokeism called freedom of thought. Its death was preceded by the death of free speech.