Tag Archives: Iraq

Memorial Day

 

This morning I read an article telling how many memorials built to honor those who died or served in the First World War are falling into disrepair. With a tight economy, many can’t be repaired. World War One was known as the Great War and the “War to End All Wars.” Little did we know.

Men and women have always gone off to serve, prepared to give what Lincoln called “the last full measure.” They should be remembered, but memorial buildings and monuments aren’t necessary. The second most impressive memorial I’ve ever seen is Arlington National Cemetery with the Tomb of the Unknowns. We don’t know names, but we know their spirit. We remember.

mem

By far the most impressive memorial that too many of us have seen is very temporary. Combat boots with an inverted M-16, dog tags and a helmet. This was the memorial for the service members we had lost from our base. It seems like there was always more than one.

The base theater/chapel was where these were placed and as the military members entered, the placed their rifles under the pews – bumping the boxes of tissues that had already been prepositioned there. The lost member might be from any service – we all were working together.

Friends spoke of the fallen. We’d file past the memorials and render a slow salute; commanders would leave their unit coin as a tribute to each of the fallen.

An hour after the troops left, the memorials were gone.

It’s what comes from the heart that remembers these heroes, not necessarily buildings or stadiums. So today, remember – from the heart.

Perspective

Dr Seuss(Theodor Seuss Geisel)We Miss You!

Dr. Seuss
(Theodor Seuss Geisel)
We Miss You!

 

For the Christmas season in 2005 I was bouncing around Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sailors I was responsible for worked hard unloading and reloading ships, acting as Customs Inspectors and training Iraqi and Afghani forces. When the holidays approached, they looked forward to some well-deserved downtime.

Alas, it was not to be.

When the holidays come, so do FOGOs – Flag Officers (Admirals) and General Officers (Generals). Instead of a day to catch up on some shuteye, read a book, relax or whatever, the Sailors (as well as their Army, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard compatriots) had to put on a clean, pressed uniform and spend half a day at the DFAC (Dining Facility) while a FOGO they’d never met carved the turkey or dished up mashed potatoes on the food line and then sat and “chatted” with the service members.

All well-intentioned, but not exactly a bull’s-eye.

This Christmas, may I suggest that whatever you’re planning on doing to entertain or support others, please – keep your audience in mind. If you give them what they want, it’s so much better than if you give them what you want to give.

Just a thought.