Today, we are celebrating Memorial Day to commemorate the altruistic sacrifices of the countless brave soldiers of this nation. Their sacrifices are our insurance to freedom. Sadly, it is now tainted with barbecues, sales and beach parties. I am guilty of participating in the “sales” part and for that, I am sorry. Last night, while watching a 3-hr special concert to honor the veterans, I was once again reminded what today is for. I think that, just like the Israelis, we should sound a siren for a minute or so in honor of these soldiers. Perhaps I would even knock on the door of our next-door neighbor, a retiree and a US Marine veteran who fought in the Korean war. Perhaps today is the day for that.
I have said this time and time again and I will never get tired of saying this: I am honored to be counted as a citizen of this nation. Yes, even after watching the “Inside Job”, which made me want to smash the television set, withdraw all my hard-earned cash from the bank and burn down (this is just an expression, people, not that I meant to do this literally) all the establishments in cahoots with Wall Street in this disgusting global Ponzi scheme which cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars and nearly sent the world into the brink of financial anarchy.
Yes, there are stupid and malicious politicians and powerful people everywhere, unfortunately they are a necessary mean to an end. The world will never get rid of them, at least not in this lifetime. Yes, our leaders made stupid mistakes that sent our soldiers into their deaths in what seemed like a “pointless” cause, but the death of a soldier is never inconsequential. Let’s not get political here, please. The very fact that a man is willing to die to fight for his country’s freedom and values is a different kind of bravery and love altogether, it is in a league of its own. There’s only one other kind of sacrifice that could trump this.
I often hear people say that Americans should not meddle with the affairs of the world, that we are not the police of the world. Who, then, should play that role? Should we be selfish, like so many, and not care about other peoples who do not have the same freedom that the founders of this nation fought for with their own lives? Are we to believe that we are that evil of a nation – that every single war fought points to only ulterior motives? Couldn’t it be just for freedom? What should we do instead? Let the people of the world police themselves and fight each other to death? Should we just leave the Israelis to die in the Middle East and let them fight their own battle since after all, it’s not our war? Without the American soldiers leading the fight on World War II, the 6 million Jewish death toll would have been far worse, the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau might never have been exposed to the world and Japan would have continued its brutal conquer of the East. Without the American soldiers aiding the South Koreans, the entire Korean peninsula would have been subjected to the regime of that mad man and who knows what would have been the ramifications for the rest of Asia?
Some people think that if we just do not “start” these wars then the war will not come to us. Do you think the Jews started the war in Germany? No, it came to them. They believed to the very end that certainly, the educated and pure society of Germany will never commit such diabolical act. History is our only tool for remembering, let us use it wisely. Remember that freedom is not free. It might be for you, but not for the millions of American soldiers, past and present, and their families. Today, let us take the time to stop and remember these fallen heroes. Let us honor their bloods that were spilled on countless foreign lands in the fight for this country: in the island of Iwo Jima, the shores of Normandy, the death march in the Philippines, in the tropical jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Korea and the terrains of Afghanistan.
It is more than just freedom for me. I dreamt of the day that I would come here and make something of myself. I chased the same dream that the trailblazers of Europe pursued, the same wonderful dream that the founding peoples of this country chased relentlessly and realized, through sweat, blood and tears. This country has given me more than comfort and a very decent life. I would fight to honor and protect it. To you who say otherwise, it would probably do you and all of us favor if you give up your valuable space to a more grateful fellow. Then maybe after living under a far harsher condition, you might be able to look back and realize how good we have it here. I will always look at this with a poor immigrant’s point of view and thus, it’s going to be very different from yours.
God Bless America, and that’s just not a cliché. I mean it with all my heart. Thank you, soldiers of the west. Thank you for giving up your life, in more ways than one, for a humbled citizen like me. I will never come close to the amount of your selfless acts but I will do my best to be someone of value, someone that you might come close to saying you are proud to have fought for. I will do it not only for you, but for me and for this great nation. Happy Memorial Day!
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- Memorial Day honors soldiers, not wars (blogs.seattletimes.com)