Today is November 11.
What is it's significance?
It's a three day weekend, and most folks are enjoying the chance to sleep in tomorrow.
Some big sale ads in the Sunday Paper. Looks like the Christmas Specials are starting early.
A few people are at sparsely attended ceremonies and some are cursing the lazy and ungrateful protected masses of strap hanging sheep.
Some are looking at the rows upon rows of flags on headstones and wondering why we bothered - why they, the ones who sleep beneath those flags, why did they bother.
Why did they pledge their "Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor" and carry through?
Was it worth it? Does anybody care?
They had lives. They had futures.
I think of Tim - he was in school with my older brother - big, blond, might have been an NFL draft pick, but his dust -off ate a burst of 23mm over the Ashau Valley in '68. He would have been 58 this year - I imagine him as a fat, bald grandfather taking his grandkids to the mall today...but there's a stone with his name on it here.
I think of my Great Uncle George, a B-24 gunner. He died of Typhus on the green jungle of hell of Bougainville in the South Pacific. He left a son that was born after he died. What kind of man might he have been, if he'd come home alive from that war?
I think of Chris, an SP I knew in Korea. He got out of the AF, joined the Kansas Guard, got a commission, died in a convoy ambush in 2005. His son must be seven now....
Like any military person, I realize that war is a necessary evil.
Only the stupid believe that "If you ignore it, it will go away."
I like the world I live in. It isn't perfect...but I envision a world with Soviet, Nazi or Imperial Jjapanese Troops in the streets of my town,
Nope, I prefer this world, imperfect as it is. Energy prices are hefty, but at least we're not huddled around a trash fire, wondering how many will survive the winter. We aren't scrounging in trash cans for the leavings of our "betters"
But, damn it, I want three things:
1. Our troops need the best stuff to do their jobs. Not crap, not over-priced pretty high tech junk that falls apart in combat, but good, usable equipment and food.
2. Good medical care for the survivors. Not necessarily "top-of-the-line" stuff, but don't abandon them to the streets like feral dogs, or keep them in hospitals with mold dripping from the walls.
3. If you're an American Citizen, make GOD-DAMNED sure that you do everything you can to make sure that we only send troops to places in the best interests of the United States.
Not crapholes like Somalia or the Balkans, nor the much discussed Darfur. "Nation-building" only works when you understand, really understand, the cultures and people. For the most part, we don't.
When you "send in the Marines" ...or anybody else...we are not faceless, mindless robots.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen - we are all people. We all have lives, and dreams and families.
If YOU- America, demands it, we will put it on the line and die, if need be.
My Grandfather, my father, myself, my son - we have all made that promise, that bargain. We all came home alive, but it was a near-run thing at times.
So, all I ask is that YOU - you personally, as an American - you hold up your end of that deal.
The only further thing I ask is that, if you read this, think about it and pass it on.
Of course, maybe you can just go back to obsessing over whatever Britney whatshername or Paris Lohan did last night, you know, important stuff like that....
GREEN SMOKE ALWAYS!
(If you gotta ask, you wouldn't understand the answer)