I don’t know what day it is anymore: 11.12.07

Veteran’s Day… used to be Armistice Day once upon a time.  I think of my grandfather today- a young, scrawny soldier deposited at Normady’s beaches on D-Day +1.  He hardly ever talks about the war, sometimes I wish he would, sometimes I understand why he can’t, at least before the Alzheimer’s stole away his memory.

I think about my neighbor Phil who went to Vietnam with the swagger of a Marine Corps gunner and came home missing chunks of muscle from his arm, permanent shrapnel in his legs, and a lifetime of nightmares that haunt him to this day.  Phil is the kind of man you don’t expect- gruff and strong to look at him, but will talk so openly and honestly about everything that really matters to him, the juxtaposition is like poetry.  His son died of an overdose in LA last August, and I thought the grief was going to kill Phil and his wife.  Phil Jr. was buried as a veteran of the USMC at the local vets cemetery, where my husband’s dad (Army- Korea- Purple Heart) and mom are interred as well.  This is their second Veteran’s Day without Phil Jr., and I know it was tough.  Phil used to go up to the Vet’s Hospital in the week prior to Veteran’s Day, to see the old guys and talk to the newly returned soldiers.  Now he only goes for therapy, and I’m damn glad he goes for that.

This country owes so much to its armed forces- sent into battle ceaselessly by administrations blinded by ambition to be a “war president”.  When will they understand it is not the lives lost under their watch that make a true war president, but the real understanding of war and its ravages, the true cost that should be borne by all.  Such wars waged in our name, for the sake of freedom, should be about much more the oil, power and greed.  It should be about humanity- of those we aim to help, of those we send to help, and of those left behind to support and mourn.

Where is the humanity shown by the Bush Administration?  Where is the humanity of the MSM?  Where are the follow up reports on Walter Reed, on the crumbling VA health system, on the vets coming home with no way to access services?  Where is our gratitude for what these soldiers and sailors have given up in the fight they were forced to wage?  Where is the outrage on behalf of these injured, lost, or damaged in the line of duty?  Who will hold the administration’s feet to the fire on issues impacting all vets?

Is anyone listening anymore?


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