Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thinking about Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and I think a little reminder is in order. Memorial Day is a time to remember all those servicemembers who died while on duty. Veteran's Day is the time to honor all the rest, current, retired, etc.

Last year, I did a Facebook app where you could list your servicemember who died on duty, or have it randomly assign your status for the day to a serviceperson killed in action. Please allow me to retell this story, from my "Gr-attitude Adjustment" blog last year:

"... I allowed it to randomly find someone....... and it was just as poignant to me: SP4 Wilbert Eugene Jones, killed in the Vietnam War. When I saw that, I knew I had to find out more about him.

I Googled him and found a SP4 Wilbert E. Jones, and information about him at VirtualWall.org (PS: that's another thing on my bucket list: visiting the Wall; Jamie O'Hara's song "50,000 Names" still brings me to tears). He was from Eden, North Carolina, only about 4-5 hours from here. He was an infantryman, died at age 21, in Quang Tri province on 30 July 1969.

Why did Spec-4 Jones and his story affect me? My Daddy was an SP4, in Europe, during the Vietnam War era. It was only because of my grandfather's stroke and Dad being the last unmarried child that he was able to come home safe and sound before he saw combat. Daddy worked with rockets & missiles, so I have always believed that he would have been sent to 'Nam at some point. I am here today because of that odd stroke of fate (no pun intended).

This made me wonder if perhaps Daddy served with this guy at some point or knew him from boot camp or any of the other places he went. It just made me really stop and think about this fella -- who he might have been, where he was from........ So I printed the information for my daddy, telling him what I'd done and what I'd found. Daddy deciphered all the arcane Army jargon and acronyms. He didn't serve with him, but there was an immediate level of kinship, brothers in arms quite literally. Specialist Jones' tour began in December 1968, the same time my parents were celebrating their first Christmas together. He died 3 months before my own birth. His birthday? March 26..... my daddy's is March 6 (although 4 years earlier).

I wondered about the friends and family that Specialist Jones left behind there in Eden and at the various bases where he was stationed. I wonder how many of them are still here today to think of him, to be grateful for his ultimate sacrifice, to celebrate the person he was and to mourn what might have been. I wish I knew more of his story but I hope that he is never forgotten.

If that app is available again this year, you betcher rear end I'm going to donate my status tomorrow to remember a fallen soldier. We do not thank them enough.

I don't care if you have (R), (D), (I), or (?) behind your name. I don't care what your viewpoints are on the President -- see rant below -- or whether or not you support the current military campaigns... NONE OF IT MATTERS. Thank a serviceperson for your freedoms, including freedom of speech.

And now I will exercise my right to free speech............ {rant} for every "pundit" out there who does their damnedest to run the President down for every decision or every nuance of a word or speech, drink a big ol' glass of STFU Juice and listen: Instead of bitching about everything he does, why don't you take five minutes, drop to your knees and pray for the man? Pray in whatever way suits you, but pray for wisdom and sound judgement, and thank God you don't have that responsibility, because you'd be just as overwhelmed. {/rant}

Okay. I feel better now.

To everyone who gave their lives, thank you. To the families left behind to mourn, grieve, advocate for peace or for changes for our military to make them safer, thank you. And may God bless the United States of America.

2 comments:

Talmadge said...

Bravo!!!!

But wait - I thought criticizing the president was unpatriotic and caused harm to our troops.... ? ? ? ? ?

Oh, never mind - that only applies if an "R" follows the POTUS' name.

nettiemac said...

Exactly, my friend. The talking heads are all up the Prez's rump when s/he is brought to you by the letter R; otherwise, they're first in line to paint the bullseye on the back........ the same hypocrisy does apply to what few left-side talking heads there are when the POTUS isn't sponsored by the letter D. Oh wait, there isn't Air America anymore, is there?

I still hope one day, we get a POTUS that has no affiliation except to the citizenry.