Twenty years ago, I wrote a Memorial Day tribute on the Internet that brought me and the reader back to watching the six-o’clock news on TV during the Vietnam era. The daily war-count was delivered nightly as if we were keeping score.
President Obama spent time today in Hanoi, schmoozing with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and promoting good will before traveling on to Japan to further our interests and his legacy.
Having started as a yearly posting in 1996, the original entries can be seen by clicking here. A few years are missing, including 2015, for which I decided to continue this series as separate entities for the future.
Throughout most of this time, military efforts continued to counter terrorism, specifically after the 2001 attacks until present. Haters will always hate, and terrorists will always spread terror.
In November 2015, a series of coordinated attacks in Paris, France, took the world stage after suicide bombers and armed jihadists killed 130 people. ISIL (ISIS) declared responsibility for the carnage.
March 2016 saw three coordinated nail-bombings in Brussels, Belguim. Thirty-two persons were killed, hundreds injured. ISIL again claimed accountability.
Memorial Day is set aside in America for the remembrance of those fallen servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives in defense of our republic’s principals of freedom, liberty and justice for all. A complete listing of the casualties related to our military involvement for the past 15 years, along with other coalition members, can be found here
This year so far has produced nine deaths alone for US military personnel involved in Iraqi and Afghani duties. More troops are being sent as advisors to counter ISIL in the Middle East. A little over 13,000 US troops remain in combat zones.
Our thoughts for those who never made it home during any military conflict should prevail over this upcoming weekend, as we’re about to embark on another fun-filled extravaganza, welcoming the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, whose season begins prematurely on the last Monday of May.
The holiday used to be celebrated always on May 30th, for those too young to remember back to 1971, when the government moved it to the present spot on the calendar, to make a convenient three-day weekend for everyone. For this year, the last Monday of May and the 30th fall coincidentally on the same day.
Congress did the same thing with other holiday observances as well in the Uniform Monday Act: George Washington’s Birthday (which later included Lincoln’s), Labor Day, Columbus Day; and Veteran’s Day was originally mandated but returned subsequently to November 11th.
Seems in having done that, the government lessened the symbolic nature of the original dates that signified the greatness in achievements, the tenacity of the individuals involved, the tragedy, valor and unselfishness of those who died serving our country.
Now all that citizens can think about on Memorial Day Weekend is not having to go to work or school on that particular Monday, having a large party, opening up the pool, hosting a backyard barbecue, drinking lots of beer and wine coolers, maybe even beginning one’s annual vacation.
However, for me it is befitting to honor those who have fallen in horrendous terrorists’ attacks around the world as well. Innocent people who were caught in the crossfire, so to speak, had no reason to die except for the savagery and treachery of their executioners during unconscionable acts of war.
The death list continues to grow yearly. Will peace ever reign on Earth? I say never, being the cynical sort, not for how ever long humans will inhabit this planet. Someone will always be a hater, no matter what. Too bad, but that’s human nature.
Don’t forget to pay homage to those intended to be recognized during this upcoming holiday.
Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and thanking you for your continued support.