Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Rage Against The Machine

Today is Veteran's Day - the all-purpose remembrance day honoring the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of these United States.

It started out as Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of the war we call World War One and of those cut down in aid of our allies. It was a truly horrid, horrible war and I am still troubled by my memories of the veterans of that conflict I knew in my childhood. They were hollow, haunted men -- never quite able to leave the horrors of the battlefields behind them.

As I grew from boyhood games of "Cowboys and Injuns" and that all-time favorite of little boys, the generic "War" whether it be with wooden sword and fiberboard shield or makeshift stick guns and pine cone grenades, I started to recognize the quiet sadness in the World War II veterans and the seething rage hidden behind the placid exteriors of the Korean War vets. On June 1, 1954, the Congress declared that henceforth November 11 would be set aside and dedicated to the remembrance of the United States Veteran.

Veterans of the Cold War understand that rage, too. Theirs was a conflict of nerves and economies over ideologies fought by well-meaning sycophants hidden away in underground bunkers and boardrooms. "What's good for the 'military/industrial complex' is good for America" was the watchword.

The sixties brought us the Bay of Pigs and the brinkmanship of Nikita Khruschev and John Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson's attempt at greatness in Vietnam and Richard Nixon's forays into Cambodia and Laos. The veterans of those conflicts have a much tougher time holding their head high. But they certainly understand the sadness and rage of their comrades.

Beirut. Grenada. Nicaragua. Desert Storm. Serbia and Bosnia. Somalia. And now Iraq. There seems to be no lack of venues requiring our presence. Millions of men and women have served in the armed forces of these United States. Your mothers and fathers and theirs. My brothers and sisters and yours. My children. Your grandchildren. Thousands upon thousands have died in service in the past 86 years, since that fateful day in November 1917. Honor them all for they have served and sacrificed so others would not have to.

This entry has 1 comments:
    thank you so much for the history lesson .. seriously .. it is so easy to forget the meaning of holidays and view it as a day off from work
    Comment from his1desire - 11/13/03 9:17 AM

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