Memorial Day 2012 Missive
Out of work week driven convenience, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. In the past, these observations of honor & sacrifice occurred on various days & dates. It is fitting that We The People come together to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and commit to honoring & supporting the service of those who have served, are serving, and will serve in the future.
Freedom is not convenient. It can not be set by proclamation as a day of the week, as a date on the calendar. Some may call freedom as a human right. This one right bears great & solemn obligations & responsibilities. Those who do not directly serve have equivalent responsibilities and obligations to solemnly support those who have served, are serving and will serve in the future.
We The People, as a nation, have turned away from our responsibility to serve and are turning from our obligation to support those who have served and are serving. This turning began two generations ago. Back in that day, the call to serve was supplemented by the draft to serve involuntarily. The draft was eliminated and successfully replaced by the All Volunteer Force (AVF). No longer were the wealthy & connected subjected to involuntarily servitude. The wealthy chose the path of stashing their kids away in connected college deferrals. The common man’s option was limited to either serving when called or defecting to Canada. No longer would they storm beach heads, fly bombers over hostile territory or be interred in distant lands. The modern era AVF looks much more like Main Street and much less like Ivy League.
Over the past two generations, the disdain, stigma & stain of the draft has faded and vanished from our collected cultural conscience. We The People no longer remember or recall this dreaded uncertainty. Too many of today’s professional politicians – more often than not the wealthy & connected that benefited from the elimination of the draft – have not served in the Active, Reserve or Guard Forces. They proclaim to respect the service provided but do not have the wisdom that comes through the experience that only comes through wearing the uniform of service.
Freedom is not convenient to preserve, protect or defend. In today’s modern global economy, terrorism is as easily exported and imported across formerly secure boundaries as oil and other consumer goods are. In order to uphold and create a better nation, today’s All Volunteer Force serves in places named Tora Bora, Fallujah, or Kandahar. All to protect places named Boston, Denver, Seattle, & Atlanta and every small town in between. Those who have served, are serving, and will serve are America’s next Greatest Generation.
Our debt to these veterans includes the collective and endless wisdom to fund & provide needed, enduring & robust support. Each veteran signed a blank check to our freedom, redeemable up to and including the ultimate & final sacrifice. The sacrifice that is being honored every Memorial Day.
Now, two generations removed from the draft, too many deride & chafe at the expense of the All Volunteer Force. Total compensation, earned, accrued & promised, is at risk of being eroded into insignificance. Such is the wisdom of those who did not, have not and will never serve. Veterans are now facing another sacrifice, not on the bloody field of honor, but on the stark & sterile alter of fiscal austerity.
This dishonors and disrespects all veterans – both the fallen & the living.
Another targeted sacrifice that was not signed up for.
This time, not from enemy weaponry, but from ‘friendly’ fire.
This is not the America that sacrifices were made for.