I came across this quote earlier today, and felt that it was appropriate for Memorial Day. "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today." - The Kohima Epitaph.
The history that we know about (that we're taught) in school as we grow up, gives all of us an idea of what happened, but do we ever really know? Do we know what it felt like, what these guys suffered through? I'm lucky to have a father who was an Underage Veteran (that means he.. lied about his age when he was 13 and entered the Korean War. Yep, 13. He is the founder of the Veterans of Underage Military Service). My husband is a veteran, as is my sister and brother-in-law. I'm lucky to say that I was raised very patriotically and I'm proud of my country. I love and am honored to know what is done for the pursuit of freedom and democracy, and I support every servicemember, and I pray that they get home safe.
Every state has some sort of memorial, honoring our veterans, and my husband and I had a chance to visit the one closest to us in North Florida. I went because I didn't want to think that it's just a three-day weekend. I wanted to remember the great sacrifice that our servicemen and women did so that I can drive anywhere I want at any time, pick out any shirt that I want at a store, choose from 20 different types of bottled water, simply because it's all my own choice since someone else fought for me. For me. They don't even know me and they fought for me. For my freedom. I took this picture at the Memorial Wall, and my heart broke for the man at the end of this wall honoring his fallen brother.
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you don't want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then question the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.