Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day (2)

Here's another poem for Memorial Day, a Kipling poem I had (embarrassed to say) never seen before. It appears history is (once again) repeating itself. We ask our military personnel to make sacrifices, allegedly for our common good. When they come home wounded, damaged and in need of help, we turn our backs on them.

Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" was one of my favorite poems as a kid. It's exciting and fun to read. In this poem, Kipling tells the other side of that story.

America is doing the same thing to the veterans who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan today. We prefer not to deal with their wounds (physical and emotional). We bring the dead home by night and refuse to allow photos. We push the wounded aside and try not to let people see them either.

I was raised by a WWII Veteran who was a lifelong member of the VFW, and damned proud of it, thank you very much...

I am also a pinko, wacko, knee-jerk, bleeding heart liberal and I oppose this war (and virtually every other war that has taken place in my lifetime)...

...but I passionately believe that we owe our military veterans not only our gratitude but also our commitment to assure that our government shall not put our children in harm's way without good and sufficient reason. Consuming a Holy Eucharist of beer and hot dogs at the beach does not count.

My fellow citizens, we are falling down on the job.

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