[ Monday, May 30, 2005 ]
I usually spend Memorial Days pondering my deceased father, and the way he served his country during WW2 and Korea. I've often wondered how, as a young man, his bravery and service could be so profound, yet as a middle-ager, he faltered, capable of neither bravery nor service. Is not character permanent? Or is it an event in time, created by the convergence of opportunity and volition?
My generation, of course, had Vietnam. I've yet to bring myself to "the wall", to look up the names of acquaintences and classmates; the hajj of the 60s generation of veterans and left-behinds. After all was said and done, the war in Viet Nam turned out to be a tragedy of errors, an unnecessary excersize in doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Our leaders had noble goals, but lacked the skill and fortitude to get the job done, both at home and in the field.
And now, we have Afghanistan and Iraq, though it is Iraq that is most often in the news and that is chewing up the greater number of soldiers. Similarly ill-equipped leaders have lied and cheated us into a war with poorly defined goals sold as noble. They say they fight to win, but once again, dedicate insufficient resources for the job, like a low-bid plumber on a job too big for his experience.
These veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are coming home now in a slow trickle, illustrating simply how thinly stretched their companies have become. Battered and broken, still proud, still stunned. The caskets come home too, though we're not allowed to see and morn their arrival.
But we know they're there. They can't be hidden completely.
They don't have a memorial wall yet.
But they will.
And we will cry before it like it was all so necessary.
And some of us will cry because it wasn't.
gonzoliberal [4:32 PM]