They said he died in an accident while unloading a truck on training maneuvers. It happened not long after he was drafted during the Vietnam War.
He became one of the many people who sacrificed their lives serving their country that we don’t often think about. He was one of many who die in service, but not in the same way as those who are given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Continue reading Memorial Day — Still Missing Ricky→
Some vets sacrifice their lives all at once on a battlefield. Those are the especially tragic situations. But other vets have made their sacrifice in increments for their country. Those are harder to identify and harder to appreciate. But on this Memorial Day it is especially important to remember those sacrifices, too.
It always stuns me to hear various media sources on Memorial Day referring to service members’ “losing” their lives for their country.
People “lose” their lives while trying to live and are surprised by death.
But, our service members who give their lives in service to their country – to us – are correctly referred to as having SACRIFICED their lives. It is their sacrifice to us all that they have risked their lives for the sake of our country’s mission. They have worn and flown our flag.
Some have made that sacrifice in an ultimate, terminal way on the battlefield and don’t come back home alive. Their lives have been given and the lives of everyone who they know are changed radically forever.
Others sacrificed in combat, were badly wounded, both physically and emotionally, and will spend the rest of their lives sacrificing over and over along with their families who will make the sacrifice daily of loving and helping with the healing.
On this Memorial let’s remember that now we have the largest group of returned vets ever in history due to four wars, three of which were the longest in American history: The Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War.
It isn’t enough to demand that the VA do everything that they can to serve and heal our vets who have given so much for us. Even more, we must fund that institution and fund other efforts to care for and help mend out returned vets. Arguments about the expense being too high from the party that sent us into two wars at once has stink to them that won’t go away.
The tendency is to think of those who have died on the battlefield as having sacrificed; but, those who did not as being just fine and no big deal. But their ongoing sacrifice must be remembered and addressed, also. We must take care of our veterans.
As Senator Bernie Sanders said while commenting about a veterans benefit bill that some argued was “too expensive” and was defeated in the Senate in February,
“If you think that it’s too expensive to take care of veterans, don’t send them to war.”
The most dangerous and damaging spin that the Republican Party inflicts upon the political process is presenting itself as the party of principles; but, their only two real principles are: protect the rich guys and send the rest of us to war.
As you listen to Republican politicians speak you will hear certain buzz words that sound familiar. They are actually code for something else.
“Liberty”, unless your exercise of it violates their racial prejudice or might cause them to lose money.
“Freedom”, for those who want to treat you however they want in public, at the company that they own, or in their neighborhood, where they think you don’t belong.
“Less government”, so that corporations can get by with anything that they want and eventually be the actual ones that we depend upon instead of a duly, democratically elected government.
“Freedom of religion”for those Christians on the extreme right-wing socially and politically. Christians who don’t ascribe to their particular kind of Christianity, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others will only be infringing upon the “freedom” of those who want to impose their religion on you.
“Free speech” for corporations and the rich who want to use their money to buy elections. However, according to them, this does not apply if you are liberal or even moderate. It does not apply to those who protest. It does not apply to those who go on strike. It does not apply to publications that oppose their ideology.
And what we hear the most on Memorial Day weekends:
“Supporting the troops” only when that means adding more money to the military budget so that contractors continue to get wealthy with the blood of the brave, patriotic young men and women who actually go to war.
This language only comes out when Republicans think that it’s time for conquests, like invading a country that has not attacked us and has a lot of oil, like Iraq.
In this opinion piece, penned by two Oklahoma Republican Congressmen, the headline is written as though they are standing up for men and women in the military, when they are actually arguing for more military spending on equipment and training, not medical care and benefits. Their campaign supporters, the defense contractors, will be happy to see this.
Indifference for Veterans
As we have engaged in longer and longer wars that are fought by the middle class and lower classes, actual support for real veterans has drained away. Those who have been torn apart and emotionally wrecked along with their families meet indifference in the GOP.
Budget talks stall and legislation is held up for veteran’s benefits because that’s when Republicans get very concerned about “the national debt” (it’s shrinking) and “the growing deficit” (it’s shrinking, too) and they argue that we can’t possibly afford it.
Do the sons and daughters of the rich go to war? No way. They are “important”. The idea is that they are smarter and more valuable and should not spend their time going to war and perhaps finding out first hand about the brutality of war. If they did, then they would be reluctant to send others to war later. And they mustn’t have that.
After all, when it’s time to go to war to steal another oil field or to gain control of another waterway or strategic pipeline intersection, they can’t have reluctance on the part of a rich person who has actually gone to war and has compassion on those who fight them.
Their positions of leadership have been bought and paid for with cash from the rich so that their generation can send someone else from the “lesser” classes in this generation to go to war again.
Time to Point Out the Only Two Principles of the GOP
Any time that you hear or see Republican leaders referring to their principles, just remember that there are only two, and they should be pointed out with gusto. All of us deserve more than their spin.