one of the more impressive and humbling sights you can see in the united states is a full military funeral at Arlington national cemetery. you have the band, a horse-drawn casket with the procession of soldiers whose every move is done with military precision, the service, the arms volley and then that sound I hate so much, that simply brings tears to my eyes with the sound of the bugler playing taps. I wonder if it is because I will miss the person going into the ground, or I am sad that humanity hasn’t figured out how to trade in the weapons and live in peace?
the next most impressive sight in the cemetery is memorial day where you can watch a soldier with a backpack of flags, place one on each of the graves in the cemetery and provide a unique color contrast between the grass, tombstones, and the red, white and blue of the American flag.
you can go to the national cemeteries in Gettysburg, new Mexico, Normandie and other places around the world and stop and sit among the graves and there is a strange silence and peace. when you look upon thousands of tombstones and look to see how many young people died in the wars, and you have to think, “is this heroic? or a waste of a human life?”
forgive me for saying this, when I think of that question, it makes all the talk about standing for the flag, the NFL issue with a political football, taking a knee, and ones right to say and do whatever they wish and all the hype about first responders and honoring our veterans that has filled the market and it makes me want to puke a bit. I was a small kid when Vietnam was on and ended and when all those soldiers came home, they were ostracized and almost vilified by a lot of the nation. the reality is it wasn’t the rich and powerful fighting in that war, but the regular guy who got drafted. I think it was about 30% of the soldiers that perished in that war were drafted. today, 1 out of 200 people choose to enlist in the services.
so how did the nation go from ostracizing the soldiers to overblown hyping of the military service and having money paid for patriotism with sporting events? I think now I am hearing the comedian bill burr talking about getting criticized and what we can be said or not said.
do I appreciate our service men and women? yes. does our country need a strong military? yes. do I think the idea of creating an industrialized military complex is very good for the idea of the planet-finding peace? not in the long term for humanity. do I think there are a few folks getting very wealthy and profiting off the backs of all the servicemen and women and hiding behind the curtain of patriotism? oh yes. I just wish people would get honest and admit it. I also wish the media in the united states might ask some questions about the reality of the deeper reasons for our military interests in the globe. I think you might see there is more vested in the profit for a few, than any ideas or ideology. the latter is simply used to rationalize it all, much like we have some prosperity preachers that think they need a new Gulfstream 650 to go talk to people about Jesus.
while I am not trying to judge anyone, it is hard to go around the planet, sit and talk with co-workers whose grandfather fought my grandfather. to go talk to the various combatants in history with the axis and allied forces, sit in Hiroshima and try to grasp, “this all evaporated in a second” and seemingly smell the death still hanging at Auschwitz and Dachau and come back into the states and ask, “why all the pomp and hype about people serving in the military? is that not a choice?”
“but they are heroes!” is a common retort. "you are unpatriotic. the USA is the greatest country on the planet. we are #1"
"have you ever been outside of the USA?"
There are a few heroic actions by soldiers, police, firemen and other people who chose to serve the community each and every day. but the idea of taking a breath of air just because you serve doesn’t make one a hero, or teh act of breathing, heroic.
what I am typing probably is not going to be very popular to many Americans, as I am asking people to look beyond the cake frosting and curtain of feel-good-I-tis of patriotism and go to one of the national cemeteries and sit for a while and shut off your cell phone and listen, watch a funeral, see the reality of death, grief…the loss from the family, and the military honor guard seeing yet another person put into the ground…and then that haunting sound of the bugler playing taps.
then ask yourself, “why are we hyping death so much, particularly when the illusion of freedom and all men are created equal seems to be moving further away, than movintcloser in today’s USA?”
there is nothing wrong with talking softly and carrying a big stick.
I think it is foolish to scream and yell about how big your stick is.
to those that server, thank you. to those that perished, thank you. for those of us that are here on the soil to enjoy the harvest, use some common sense and respect the flag and what is behind it all beyond the hype.
no idea where that all came from. I think it was a moment remembering a teammates brother in college getting blown up in Beirut one day. plus there is that rule of no editing, just 10 minutes and post. it will give plenty of cannon fodder to the critics.