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Author Topic: Some Random Thoughts on Memorial Day  (Read 750 times)

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Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Some Random Thoughts on Memorial Day
« on: May 31, 2010, 07:15:41 AM »
I don’t consider myself on overly patriotic man. I don’t fly a flag from my house; I’ve never served in the Military; but I also don’t cheat on my taxes, and I buy things locally if I can, even if it costs a few dollars more. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about Memorial Day, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve had positive thoughts about the United States.

Yes, our culture here in the United States is a consumption machine with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Our society was built on the backs of suffering people who were willing to deal with making sacrifice on a level that is probably no longer possible in today’s US (more on that below). Yes, politically, the US is further to the Right than any other western democracy, but not all of us are. In fact, our political structure here is so polarized at present that really less than half of us are on the Right. As will soon be apparent, I’m a member of the Left, as are most young, educated people in the US. I don’t claim to be an expert on US culture, but I’ve lived many places here. I grew up in the rural West, and now I live in the Northeast, and for some reason, I seem to date Midwest exclusively. I generally consider myself a pacifist, but I think by the time I’m done with this, that assertion could be legitimately disputed.

I live in New York City, quite possibly the most liberal city on Earth. Like more than 60% of New Yorkers, I wasn’t born here. Like countless millions before me, the city offered me opportunities as an outside that drew me in. I’m surprised by how much I’ve changed living here; particularly at my age when I arrived. I was living here 9/11/01, and actually watched the towers fall through the window of my apartment at the time. The city profoundly changed as result, but strangely, I don’t think the event had much of an effect on me. I don’t know anyone who died, and amazingly, the fact that I slept until 9 that morning kept me from being at the WTC that very day. My first thought was that we were going to go to war with Afghanistan, and we did.

Being a liberal, I was never a fan of the Bush administration, but I did support going to war against Iraq, and I still support that decision today. I didn’t think we would find WMDs there; I don’t think the resource of crude oil was or should have been the primary objective. What was important to me was regime change, and it is this circuitous route that brings me back to why my thoughts about Memorial Day are musing this opinion essay in the first place.

The US spent the first half of 20th century projecting an ideology globally when it was threatened itself by other ideological projections. It spent the second half protecting that ideology, along with other nation states that chose to accept it some form. In the 21st century, the US has moved to a first strike policy, forcing its ideology onto people and groups eerily reticent of the era of Imperialism in the 19th century. The ethical and moral implications of this shift are worthy of a discussion of their own, but are beyond the scope of this discussion.

To me, the ideology itself is the important issue, and an idea both worth protecting and projecting. This ideology is based around personal freedom and protection from removal of that freedom by anyone, and most importantly by the government. Our society here in the US has many flaws, but our political system isn’t one of them. As long as our freedom to act for what we believe in is upheld, we should and must do our utmost to ensure that freedom continues.

The beauty is that we don’t have to agree. We have the freedom to disagree without repercussion. Sure it may get heated at times, but as long as our argument doesn’t affect safety to life or property, we will be free to project our views no matter what they may be, even if they are as dire as the desired removal of that freedom.

So when your thoughts drift to Memorial Day, I ask you to think about the men and women who felt that ideological projection was so important they were willing to sacrifice themselves for its ideas. Think about how if speech was controlled, a community like Elliquiy couldn’t exist. I ask you, not to take up arms in its defense, but to stand with me in protecting its ideas. You don’t have to agree with my political views, just realize that without that previous sacrifice from those who believed like I do, our ability to even have political discourse could be entirely curtailed.

Please, stand with me in protecting personal freedom to think and act as we wish as individuals.     
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 10:27:41 AM by Lord Mayerling »

Offline HockeyGod

Re: Some Random Thoughts on Memorial Day
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 08:51:32 AM »
Thank you for sharing Lord Mayerling. It's as though you read my mind for much of what you wrote!

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Some Random Thoughts on Memorial Day
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 10:29:31 AM »
I try to recall those I've worked with who aren't with us anymore.

Mongo, a big bear of a guy from the midwest, who was one of the first guys to 'tack on my crow' when I got my 3rd Class Petty Officer rank. (Made my arm go numb). The guy was always there with a joke and advice. Taught me to look beyond my rating for things to do and to enjoy training my airmen under me. Last time I saw him he was on top of the world. He'd gotten out of the S-3 community and gone rescue swimmer and finally made Chief after years of trying. (Back then AW aircrewmen was stuck for a bit). He died by his own hand 5 years ago June.

Jeremy Seeds. Chief and my Flight Deck Coordinator on my first deployment. Great guy. Ended his shore tour early to follow a friend of his out to sea. They had been airmen together and Chief followed him when he got his commission and gone through several commands. He turned a blind eye to us 'sniping' parts for troubleshooting, covered us when we were working and got us the time, parts and space to do the job.  The last day of operational flight off the coast of Thailand, he was killed five minutes after me and my mentor Eric talked to him on the flight deck. Killed by a separated landing wire. He died instantly.

There are a bunch of guys I know I have served with. Some of them are still in. Some got out.

Ironically today is the day I was medically discharged from the Navy. I miss serving my country, and to some extent I always will. Last year I got to see folks protesting outside my last base on this day too.


I will say this and end on this. You might disagree about the how and what of the soldier (generic term) does in the service of this country. Fine. Just remember we (past and present) stood up to uphold and defend your rights, please respect that sacrifice. Honor the men and women who came before us and didn't return. Don't sully their memory by using this day to make a 'statement'. 

Offline Oniya

Re: Some Random Thoughts on Memorial Day
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2010, 06:34:05 PM »
Some of you might remember the second video here - it became quite popular during the early part of the Gulf War.  I doubt anyone here other than me knows the first one.  Both are very appropriate for the day. 

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.