Thinking about Memorial Day.
What is it? Well:
· It’s the day we run the big NASCAR race at the Charlotte/Concord Motor Speedway, where hundreds of thousands of folks get all boozed up and sit watching breathlessly to see if a car going 200 mph will crash and burn into the turn;
· It’s a really big shopping day, when we can get dazzling sales discounts at stores all over the region;
· It’s a day for grilling burgers, brats and sucking up beer, as we sit outside enjoying our day off;
· It’s the final day of our beach weekend before heading home through masses of cars and trucks all trying to also get home;
· Oh yeah, it’s also a day to think about our troops presently in harm’s way and our veterans sitting somewhere trying to get some medical care.
How did we allow this to happen? What’s “this” you ask? Well, “this” is the corruption of a day we should be honoring our soldiers, to yet another day in which we honor money, and drinking, and generally trying to forget everything. I know that various folks tried to do the same thing to Veteran’s Day, aka Armistice Day. At the least we avoided turning that day into yet another three-day weekend. The Armistice occurred at 11:00 AM, on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year of 1918 so it seems entirely appropriate that we honor those soldiers of a far away and mostly forgotten war on the 11th day of the 11th month.. We did convert that day into a broader celebration, honoring our soldiers and veterans.
I realize that our Republican friends have been trying to pin the debacle of veterans’ health care on our current President. Happily, however much they have tried, it is abundantly clear to all those who still think, that, however well or badly President Obama has handled the VA health care mess, he did not invent it. We have been scandalously ignoring our veterans since we began having veterans. Mainly, our various Congresses have never been able to generate enough money to build and operate a system of health care that is capable of handling all of our veterans. It may well be the case that veterans should be able to obtain their health care at any health care facility, paid for in advance by the American people. One way or another, that would require tax dollars. The current republican bunch, however much they love to send our troops to war, cannot bring themselves to employ tax dollars to pay for the full consequences of our wars.
Maybe it is true. If you can’t actually care for your troops and your veterans in a fully honorable way, don’t keep sending your troops to war. It’s really that simple.