I got to thinking about the 1,800 Veterans who are buried every day, and all of those Veterans out there in harms way, and I just said fuck it. It just made me too depressed to write about it, so I'll just say...
God Bless Them All.
The wife is teaching a bloc (block?) of history to the kids today, and she chose to educate them about Memorial Day. She was showing examples of Arlington Cemetery, and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but she was frustrated because all of the photos in the book were too small. So she called upstairs and asked me if I would Google pics, so she could bring the kids up and show them. I initially balked, but dammit, I'm a Dad, and Dads pass stuff forward. It becomes our only purpose for existence.
So I found a bunch of high-res photos, and she brought the kids up, and as I went through them, explaining each one, trying not to cry, they grew quiet, and the kid-wiggles turned to stock-still children. I showed them the Viet Nam Memorial, and they could read the names of the dead, and I explained that each name was a father, a brother, a son.
And I held my thumb and forefinger very close together ('this close') and told them how easily my name could have been on that wall. I tried to enlist, you know. And the recruiter told me no thanks, the war was winding down, and they had all the bodies they needed.
The wife told them about the hostages in Iran, the 444 day captivity (Fuck Jimmy Carter!) and how I enlisted to go kill Iranians. And then a new President came in, and the Iranians let our people go. But I was still in, and loved every minute of my service.
Nat whispered to me "They knew you were coming to shoot them, so they let them go..."
When they finally left my room, I broke down, and cried like a baby. All of those headstones. That wall. The last picture I showed them was of a young woman, laying on a grave, likely her husband's, in a state of total emotional collapse. That got me...
Our politicians would do well to consider the consequences of releasing The Dogs of War. Every decision to put American men and women in harms way, should be made in a large, glass-walled room, in the center of that sea of crosses at Arlington National Cemetery.
Just a thought...
More here. And here.
I dare you not to cry.