Monday, May 26, 2008

Somber Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, the day that we all don't have to go to work, instead we sit around in our backyard, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers (no steaks this year, given the paucity of cash in our pocketbooks). But behind the back yard BBQs, there is an haunting thought that we are forgetting something, someone - somebody who should be there but is not, not because they weren't invited, but because they are dead. There I said it, "dead" - a word that most Americans would rather ascribe to a mosquito or a squirrel along the roadside, not to brave young soldiers who have fought and died for our country. Their deaths are all the sadder today, because so many of their deaths were unnecessary. We didn't need to invade Iraq, we shouldn't have invaded Iraq. Iraq was invaded based on lies told by an administration that knew it was lying when they were making the case for war, but made the case anyway and off to war we/they went.

To date I believe that 4080 soldiers have died in Iraq, but that doesn't begin to tell the story of how tragic this illegal and immoral occupation of a sovereign country actually is. Scores of soldiers made it back to the States alive, but are so grievously wounded that their lives are changed forever. Many returned with wounds that may not be obvious, but turn out to be just as deadly as a runaway infection or a fatal disease. They came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a result of what they witnessed over there in Iraq, what they were called upon to do over there, what they remembered from watching their fellow soldiers get blown to smithereens. And so they bring these indelible images home with them to their families who missed them so much while they were away, only to have those same family members wonder who this stranger is that has returned to their home. Who is this guy who flies off the handle so quickly, who sulks around his children, who bangs his fist through doors and walls?

And saddest of all the results of this god-awful war are the numbers of suicides that have increased daily - the stories of those who came back, but just couldn't live with themselves anymore, and decided that enough is enough and ended it all. That is what Chad Oligschlaeger, age 21, decided to do this week at the Twenty Nine Palms base in California.

"We sent these kids over there, we're putting them through things that we'll never see in our lifetimes. Things we see in the movies that are not real, it's real to them," said Christine Judan, a family friend of the Oligschlaegers.

My thoughts go out to families who have lost a loved one in war and my wish is that human beings would evolve to the point where we no longer need to kill each other in order to address our differences, conflicts, and arguments.

In case you are curious, here's a link to political leaders who served and those that did not. You'll notice that those who are so keen to get this country involved in war are the ones who did not serve (mainly Republicans), while those who are eager to get us out of Iraq and warn us against starting another war in Iran are Democrats. Just an interesting observation, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

"They came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)..."

let's thank them with fireworks. a little reminder of their service.

i still don't get that...the setting off fireworks.

xtra krispy bucket of sluttiness

mfhadley said...

Thanks for stopping by Xtra Krispy,
I've been wondering how you are doing - How's it going out there in Calee-for-nie-ay? Hope all is swell witcha.