(Editor’s Note: That’s me, if I get stabbed, shot or poisoned for this post, then what is freedom about if not vocalizing an opinion?)
So, this country has an anxiety about itself. It puts veterans on a pedestal, like they have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Some of them have, some of them came close, but to me, being a veteran doesn’t make a person any more special than I am. My life is worth the same.
Perhaps I got off on the wrong foot here, my issue on this holiday weekend really isn’t with veterans. My issue is with those who don’t appear to understand the meaning of this day. It’s Memorial Day. Memorial. To remember the ultimate sacrifice those in the military gave because they were given marching orders and ended up losing their lives because of it.
As Americans, many of us are so pathetically skewed on what military might and military right truly should be. Even if you can’t figure out the difference, someone died because of those two. I just hate being pigeon-holed that I must believe that I owe something to every man and woman in uniform. Thus, the anxiety. This is America’s anxiety with the military.
The whole “Like your freedom? Thank a vet” crap doesn’t fly with me. My freedom has never been threatened, and no veteran in the modern era has fought for my ability to type these here words. That war was fought hundreds of years ago. Normandy, Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan didn’t secure my freedom, so let’s get that clear.
On that same note, I also know those who died wearing the uniform should be honored. They deserve to be, because they were willing (sometimes unwilling) to place their life on the line when a writing hack like me didn’t. That’s what Memorial Day is all about. It’s not about a flag, an eagle, the red, white and blue, it’s about the families who lost those who died fighting for something we may or may not have believed in.
They wore a flag on their uniform, but they didn’t fight for a flag. They fought for us. Not a bird. Not a cloth, but us. They fought for the guy next to him. They fought for their girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband back home. Thinking they died for a flag belittles their true sacrifice in my eyes.
So if you see someone in uniform walking around today, it’s not his day. His or her day is Veterans Day. Today belongs to those who can’t walk around in uniform anymore. Those who gave their lives for whatever purpose they believed in, but ultimately we benefited from.
I do have family who are veterans, and on Monday (today) they have to work like many other folks. It’s not their day. It’s my great uncle Pablo’s day, who died fighting a war and people he personally had no beef with. He fought because he was told he had to. His life was cut short. Today is his day. If you are a veteran and are getting pretty pissed off right now, I don’t apologize, but your day is coming soon. It’s just not today.