Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

A day to remember those who have fallen to protect our freedoms and our way of life. A day to thank those who have had the courage to serve this Nation in its times of need.

If we have learned anything from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is how to love the warrior while hating the war - a lesson that we did not understand 40 years ago when our brothers and sisters were returning from southeast Asia. For them there was little "home coming" because most of us at home did not know how to separate their service from the cause. We may have welcomed our own soldier or sailor, but we failed miserably in finding a way to welcome them home as a group.

While today we are doing a better job of welcoming our service men and women home, we are still failing them medically and emotionally. This whole new population of young men and women with traumatic brain injuries is stretching our VA system far beyond its capacity and we are not moving forward to fix that.  The improvements in medicine generally mean that more severely wounded soldiers will survive now, but we haven't found the ways to support them and help them maximize their remaining faculties so that they can lead productive and meaningful lives ... for the next fifty years.  I fear the population of homeless Iraq/Afghanistan vets will make the homeless Vietnam vets seem like just a handful.  As a nation we need to do better. As individuals we need to start doing more. 

At the very least we need to say thank you to those who have done so much for us. Thank you to Lew Puller. Thank you to Les Smith, Jake Smith, John Bane, and Ray Whiteman. Thank you to John Connell, to Ron Stewart, to Keith Hammock, and to Bob Kenney. 
Thank you to Neal Miller, Drew Bowder and the new generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines serving in the the desert and around the world. Thank you to the families of them all.

Today is a day to remember; a day to say thanks. "And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, o're the land of the free and [especially] the home of the brave."


  1. I agree with Bonnie - nicely said.

  2. Yes it's a tricky thing, hating the message but not the messenger.

    Though the child of a soldier it was a hard lesson for me. But I have learned it and live it.

    Beautifully written post Webb.

    xo Jane