By Annoyed With Things
I am way beyond annoyed this time. Why are some people so afraid to honor and respect our servicemen and women - both living and who have died in the service of our country? There were several incidents over this weekend of remembrance – it’s called Memorial Day for a reason, where people were disrespectful, disruptive or just “uncomfortable” calling our war dead heroes.
Chris Hayes, the host of some show on MSNBC, essentially said he was uncomfortable with calling those who fought and died in Afghanistan and other wars heroes because it seems to justify more war (here). What a crock! This is someone who just doesn’t understand the true nature of military service. The so called war dead are heroes because they went where they were told to go and did what they were told to do on behalf of all of us, including Chris Hayes. And they died as a result, as President Lincoln said, they, “… gave the last full measure of devotion.”
I have no problem if someone is against “the war” and if they have problems with grand strategy at the political level. Fine, talk about that all you want. But, why disparage the troops? Calling them heroes and noting the cost does not push us toward more war; it actually pushes us away from war and gives us the motivation to seek alternatives to war. This is a classic weaker opponent trying to drive of the cost of the struggle up until it gets too high and the U.S. is no longer willing to pay the butcher’s bill. At that point, we will pull the plug, seek an accommodation, or simply declare victory and leave. Until that point, the people who Chris Hayes should be uncomfortable with is the President (Bush and Obama) and the military strategists who can’t seem to find a way to win or at least end our involvement in this war.
There is this persistent notion that seems to have taken hold around the country that there is some kind of divide between service members and veterans and the rest of the country. I don’t buy it, not for a second. In fact, I believe it is a liberal, left leaning media bias that is perpetuating this nascent notion, not the average Joes across the country. If we don’t have someone from our family serving now, we know someone; and if not one of our friends families, then the guy down the street or the counter lady at the diner where we get our coffee. We are all connected to this thing. Let me tell you how we are connected – I am not old enough to have a direct connection with anyone who died in Vietnam. Our family was lucky; my father was drafted but served between Korea and Vietnam, all before I was born. As I grew up, even as the fighting continued and finally ended, the Vietnam War was a piece of our history that I learned about in books. The first time (and every time after) I went to Vietnam Memorial and saw all the names on that wall, I wept. Right there, under the open sky and in full view of everyone else – many of whom were also weeping. That is how we are connected.
This was, I believe, the point John McCain was trying to make before he was heckled at a Memorial Day event in San Diego (here). The heckling is not the focus of my comments; it was what John McCain was saying as he was heckled – essentially, we are all in this together. Again, I don’t have a problem with someone in the audience having an agenda and making a scene. The heckler was yelling about the USS Liberty incident of 1968 (Google it) and John McCain’s father who was involved in the subsequent investigation of the event. But, have the respect and understanding to find a different time or place to voice your concerns. These remarks were not about John McCain and were not a political stump speech, but a solemn remembrance by a veteran who certainly paid his dues. So sit down and shut up – Jerk!