The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Nothing “Happy” About Today

I hear it all the time, and it never stops annoying me.

Today, many across the country are having cookouts, or are visiting family and friends. The kids are out of school, and everyone’s off work. And somewhere, one of the phrases that most annoys me is being said:

“Happy Memorial Day!”

Now, I know it’s not said with any malice or any disrespect. Still, it shows the disconnect between those who served and those who didn’t; the contrast between the 1% and the other 99. Because for the 1%, this isn’t a day to celebrate. It’s a day of reflection, rememberance, and rededication.

According to Wikipedia, an estimated 1,343,812 Americans  have given their lives in defense of this nation since 1775, including 848,163 in combat.  Consider that for a moment. We have lost more lives in warfare than 71 of the world’s nations. On top of that, an estimated million more were wounded in our country’s defense…and that number mostly counts the physical wounds, and not the mental ones that many of us still carry. The right to “celebrate” this day was purchased at a price beyond understanding and comprehension…which is why I think too many Americans don’t get what the day is really about. To far too many, military service-and sacrifice-is abstract; even with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s a majority of the populace that remains unaffected, untouched. And so, outside of the community of veterans, the meaning of the day-by and large-goes forgotten.

Which is unfortunate…because if you take away 25,000 of those dead and 25,000 of  those wounded-the estimated numbers from the American Revolution-we wouldn’t have a country in which to celebrate.

One of my favorite quotes by George Washington is:

The willingness with which young people are likely to serve in war, no matter how justified, is directly proportional to how they perceive how veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.

Many people think that it refers only to how we take care of our veterans who return from war. I believe that it also refers to how we remember those who paid the price of our freedom by their lives and their blood…because if they are forgotten, their sacrifice will be lost with them. As Frederick Douglass said in 1871 at Arlington National Cemetery:

Dark and sad will be the hour to this nation when it forgets to pay grateful homage to its greatest benefactors. If the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

I pray that dark, sad day never comes.

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Written by Coby Dillard

May 30, 2011 at 7:55 am

Posted in Editorials

Tagged with ,

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