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.”