Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Mark of Your Shame

Remember Garrett Knoll.

Remember Joseph Anzack. Remember Bert Hoyer.

Remember, for these men are dead; their families left to face yet another day without their loved ones. These men, and three thousand souls like them, are gone. The grief of those left behind is beyond your understanding.

And yet on this day--a day dedicated to the memory of those lives sacrificed--some of you are waiting in line at the pump, trying to get out on the road before 9 AM. Some of you are trying to get to the beach before all the good spots are taken. Some of you are peeking in the fridge, trying to check on the ribs you've had marinating since last night, in preparation for today's big barbecue.

For some of you, this is a pageant. This is a show. This is a game. Some of you will attend Memorial Day parades in your hometowns, and when the local VFW honor guard fires off its 21-gun salute, you will plug your ears and flinch at the gunshots. You won't be thinking of the spouses left to raise their children alone; you won't be thinking of the children left to grow up without a mother or father, forever wondering. You'll be hoping you left enough change at the meter; hoping your mother doesn't get drunk again and start calling your wife a tramp.

These are the thoughts that will occupy your mind this Memorial Day. And they will betray you. When you bite into that steak, I hope you taste the blood leaked from three thousand shattered bodies; taste the salty tears of three thousand loved ones. I hope you taste the chalky grit of Iraqi dust in your beer; hope you smell the scorched odor of gunpowder in your lover's perfume.
For those of you to whom this applies, I am offended at your celebration of this holiday. I am sickened. I am repulsed. You do not deserve this day. You are not worthy of these sacrifices. You should mourn for the human beings we can never get back, and you should mourn the path that led them to their deaths.

This day, America, once sacrosanct, is now the mark of your shame.

36 Comments:

Blogger Chris Rich said...

This cuts to the core of all that is deranged about our time.

A hallowed time borne of the vast ghastliness of a Civil War has been hijacked by vile bloated things eager to peddle pottage to souls pauperized.

And so the intent and purpose of reflection and remembrance gets shoved aside in a witless bums rush to wallow in the hollow and one day, as Jules Henry noted, this habit of lifelong hollowness will be like a bit of tinsel that falls from enfeebled hands when they die enroute to an abyss of oblivion.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous GiG said...

Dear Milo,

I don't often comment but read your entries on a regular basis and I feel your pain and frustration.

Today, I will go over to my mom's and spend time with my stepdad, he and I are polar opposites when it comes to our political and worldviews. But, he is retired military, he served one tour in Desert Storm and two tours in Bosnia, his older brother is still declared MIA in Vietnam. While we do not agree on many issues, I appreciate his love for this country and his dedication to his fellow soldiers. So today, over a cook out, we will listen to his stories, and we will remember and honour those that have given their lives and think about those of you out there, fighting.

You take good care of yourself, and remember, there are lots of us thinking of you and your fellow soldiers all the time, and we want you home, safe and sound, and we want you home now.

Peace
Andrea

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service. Thank you today, Memorial Day, and every day you are overseas.
Yes, there are citizens who pay no attention and have little interest in soldier's struggles or the politics involved.
However, there are many of us who do whatever we can, day after day, to support-whether it be by flat rate, box, submitting comments to webblogs, along with endless prayers for all of you and your families.
Please don't put all of us civilians in one category. If there were a way to wring the bitterness from your spirit, I'd do it with my bare hands.
With sincere gratitude and keep writing, Cathy B

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You Cathy- my sentiments exactly- you have friends- you are loved-try to let some of that anger and bitterness go-youhave to stay on your toes there so clear your mind- we care

4:31 AM  
Blogger fjb said...

I don't think people are necessarily deliberately taking for granted what you men and women are doing over there. I think it's human nature that most people try to avoid thinking about painful issues too much because it makes them real.

Times are changing, believe it or not. People are starting to get pissed off, but sadly enough, too late for many. Stay strong, Milo.

Peace,
Fiona

5:24 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

Milo,

Today in Houston, Texas in Hermann Park over 3,800 flags were placed in the ground for each U.S. troop killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each flag bears the name of each troop killed including the date and circumstances of their death. We also read the names aloud. At the request of a Gold Star Mother, we included a section remembering those who have committed suicide since returning home.

A memorial for the Iraqi civilians stands in the center.

It is a labor of love organized by Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Military Families Speak Out, and CodePINK. It will be on display until Tuesday evening.

We remember and grieve.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

We have a weekly vigil here (and have had since Viet Nam).

Memorial Day has turned into a circus. My great-granddaughters didn't even know last year why they had a day off school.

They do now.

Ann
Is America Burning

(I add the name of the blog because my link goes to my "family" blog - which of course you're more than welcome to visit).

6:02 AM  
Blogger julie anna said...

We have no celebrations planned. It never even came up. My husband will work CQ, and he waits another turn to go back to Iraq. I will go about everyday like I always do-with worry on my mind for all you over there, thoughts of the men I know who have died there, and prayers for the families who will forever feel the pain I hope I'll never know.

9:24 AM  
Blogger iamcoyote said...

Milo, I understand your bitterness, and share it. I've tried to get the people in my office to read your words and Riverbend's words also, and while they say they sympathize, they also turn away from the horror because, like Bush's crazy old witch of a mother, they don't want to ruin their beautiful minds and their holiday parties with the ugliness of reality. Sometimes, I wish I could turn off the mental image of those pictures of the dead and maimed I forced myself to look at so I could better understand what you and your mates and your families have to live with every day. But I'm glad I looked, and I'm glad I have the courage to keep looking, because as painful as it is for me, I know it's a million times worse for you and Anne, and that gives me the impetus to keep trying to make my co-workers understand that this abomination is happening to real people with real lives and real feelings. There's no bbq at my house; my daughter and I are sending letters to my Democratic senators - the ones that voted yes on the funding bill - and I will include pictures of what their vote and their lack of courage has wrought. Stay strong, brother, come home safe.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

Stay strong, Milo. We need you, your country needs you - not to lay down your life, but to speak truth, to remind, to say boldly and in raw terms what so many of us feel in our souls. Here at home we continue to write letters, to march, to try to talk sense to neighbors, to pull the country - not apart, but together again. For your service, and for your words, I thank you.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You should mourn for the human beings we can never get back, and you should mourn the path that led them to their deaths."

and mourn the fact that GW Bush was elected president and led us into this tragic and unnecessary war.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not enough to acknowledge that our military is fighting and dying, and that you feel for them. If you don't support the mission, you don't support the military.

Those of you who support the idea of leaving Iraq now without finishing, you are telling the military that their sacrifices are in vain, that it was all a waste of time. That is not supporting the troops. That is figuratively spitting on the troops.

You Code Pinkers, you letter writers, you marchers... if you really supported the troops you'd be donating to charities that help wounded military personnel and their families instead of MoveOn.org or CodePink. You'd write your representatives to encourage them to support the troops by supporting the mission, instead of encouraging them to yank the funding from the military while they're in combat.

Who am I to say this? I'm ex-military, not a combat veteran (tried to re-enlist for this war but was turned down since I'm past the age limit and haven't been in the military/reserves for almost two decades), and have had friends who have fought (and some who have died) in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I served in the late '70s and early '80s, it was common to have 'peace supporters' throw things at us while we marched in parades in uniform, and to denigrate anyone who served as an idiot, murderer, etc. Unfortunately, times haven't changed.

As horrible as war is, it is not the abomination. The abomination is those who have the stomach to support what they perceive is a popular war, and then don't have the stomach to see it through. I'm talking about the Democrats. I'm talking about the whole cut-and-run crowd who say they support the troops, but really don't.

The mark of their shame is that they lack the courage to stand for anything, and they attack those who do. I salute those who serve today, and who have served... and I condemn those who will not serve and worse, who will stab those who serve in the back. Shame on them.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Glenn Bartley said...

SPC Freeman,

I will call a spade a spade, your original post above is a shame when you think of all the Americans who honor Memorial Day, and the memory of our fallen troops as more than a picnic day!

There are millions of Americans on whom the significance of this day is not lost, yet they celebrate the day because even though a memorium, the day is one to celebrate. We celebrate the lives that have been saved by our brave military, we celebrate the freedoms that we keep because of fallen heros, we celebrate the lives they have allowed us to live, we celebrate the fact that we are even allowed to celebrate at all.

Don't let your bitterness conceal the truth from you! Ctainly many of us who celebrate this day do so for the right reasons; and in fact many are veterans or the families and friends of our brave sons/daughters who were lost during war. Yet you say - Shame on Them! Sorry but I must say: shame on you and on anyone for saying shame on them!

I wopuld hope that someday you come to realize that there are many Americans who realize the sacrifices made and the price paid by our military; and that you too come to realize that your bitterness should not be directed at them or at Americans in general. We are not your enemy, we are the people you serve, and we respect you and honor you more than you seem to know.

With regrets that you feel the way you do,
Glenn Bartley

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AM PROUD TO BE AMERICAN. I AM PROUD OF YOU! I HONOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE IN SERVICE ESP. SINCE THEY
VOLUNTEER. I AM PROUD OF THOSE WHO GO BEFORE YOU AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW AND I REMEMBER!!!! AND I AM GRATFUL!

MOM

12:20 AM  
Blogger Seven of Six said...

You Code Pinkers, you letter writers, you marchers... if you really supported the troops you'd be donating to charities that help wounded military personnel and their families instead of MoveOn.org or CodePink.

Milo, I have to agree with your post. The American people are not doing enough.

I will say it again, if we were really at war and supposed to sacrifice, we would be rationing everything, recycling metal, turning GM into making those bomb busting vehicles on the assembly line. But we are not. We are told by bu$h to go shopping.
While the lies continue to flow, the troops continue to die.

This is not a war, it is an occupation! That is for the lunkheads who don't realize that the Military Industrial Complex and it's lobby groups are running this country.

For those unfamiliar with me I'm a 100% disabled Vet. The charities help, but the Government owes the troops. It's up to the Veteran's Administration to pick up the tab. Write your congress to increase funding for Veteran's spending.
As soon as the links to Depleted Uranium are made apparent this country will quickly realize the quagmire it has gotten us in.

BTW stupids, IRAQ did not have anything to do with 9/11!!

Milo, my brother in arms, keep your chin up, head down.
A car backfired today in the movie theater parking lot...as usual, I hit the deck. Some things don't leave easily.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Seven of Six said...

Milo, You and Anne may like this, I posted it on my blog:

"Many soldiers will come home with a hole where faith in government integrity was ripped out by craven cynical thieves and arrogant glycerine fools. Scar tissue will grow over it and new experience will crowd it aside, but the deep fundamental betrayal of American values personally felt by these profoundly patriotic men and women will never be redressed or even acknowledged by their culture, family, friends and lovers.

They will always stand a bit apart from the conventional celebration, commerce and community that denies their wound through ridicule and indifference. They will never quite fit in anywhere ever again. They will be America's most valuable citizens because they'll never stop asking, "Why?"---

Commentator, Pvt. Keepout at The Left Coaster

6:34 AM  
Blogger KT said...

Today I had a different kind of Memorial Day, my boyfriend and I visited the Grove of Remembrance at Liberty State Park that honors the New Jersey residents who died on 9/11. They have planted a tree for each of the fallen, and it is in a spot that once had a perfect view of the Towers I loved.

Personally, I knew a lot more people who died that day than in any actual war. It is insulting to me that you, Milo, and your peers are in a country that had nothing to do with it. It is also scary how occupying the wrong country is only exacerbating the situation, I feel more scared today than I did on 9/12, when I was actually at Ground Zero, helping to feed and clothe the rescue workers as they came back for a break from the horrors of their work.

Supporting a war you do not agree with (and in my case, never have) is not the same thing as supporting the troops who are there.

Honestly, a lot of us younger anti-war people (born after Vietnam) are embarassed about the treatment vets have received from our predecessors. We do not spit on the troops, we send them care packages and messages of support, donate to veterans charities, and truly believe in the human beings who don't get to choose where they fight.

We just don't support the people who choose to put them there -- Republicans and Democrats alike.

6:55 AM  
Blogger JTapp said...

I appreciate your blog, and all that you're doing over there. As a freedom-loving civilian, thanks for the reminder.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Milo,

Words cannot describe what you're doing here. Don't stop! I'm happy to link to you.

9:36 PM  
Blogger E-4 Mafia said...

This is what i did Memorial Day

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4CkWjdGf_F4

This is what I do everyday

http://www.ivaw.org/

This is where I bitch

http://www.ftssoldier.blogspot.com/

This is what you should sign

http://www.appealforredress.org/

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me what to do and I'll do it. If I have done it before, I will do it again.
I have been against this war since September 2002, 6 months before the invasion, but the writing was well on the wall then.
Some of us are at a loss. We thought our last vote would change things, but they have not.
Last week I was at Arlington, never a more somber place to be. Not all of us are fighting for the perfect beach spot or to catch a great "sale". Some of us are sick inside at what we see, but don't know what else to do.

1:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My niece is serving in Afghanistan. Memorial Day used to be just a day off for me, I won't lie. But when BushCo entered Iraq, that all changed for me.

I support our war in Afghanistan, but I will never support going into Iraq. For me supporting the troops means bringing them home from the occupation of Iraq.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Yeah, a low-down crying shame: as the contract that you signed when you enlisted suggested it might be. STFU, then already, and do the job that you said you would, soldier.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Shock said...

Do you mind if I put a link to your blog at my site, http://www.soldiervoices.net

You're not the only one by a loooong shot.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick a fork in you Milo, you are done.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Zeke

Yeah, God forbid a soldier feel some goddamned frustration and disillusionment when the country he signs on to defend and protect betrays him by sending him somewhere he doesn't belong.

Milo is engaging in the soldier's God-given right to bitch, and screw you for wishing to deny him that. He's brave enough to do the job he has to do for the sake of his mission and his battle buddies, even though he doesn't agree with while he's there. That makes him doubly a hero in my book.

He gets angry sometimes. And frustrated. And he has a right to. But he's still a hell of a soldier and he's just doing the best he can in this mess. If you don't like that, then I suggest YOU "STFU" and take your keyboard diarrhea elsewhere.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Save the Drama for yr Mama, Annie. And Milo too. He signed off on it. If the brass want to send him up Hamburger Hill or into WWIII in Africa, and kill people for whatever reason, he has agreed to it. He should not have made the CHOICE to join the US Military in the first place, if he didn't want to follow orders from his superiors. That said, I wish him and his fellow soldiers well: tho' I suspect most are a bit more dedicated to the cause than he is.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Pookie Sixx said...

Zeke,

You have never been dissatisfied with a job before? You have never felt used and abused by an employer? Yes he did sign a contract to serve. He has a right to voice his opinion just as you do. Telling him and his wife to shut up and color is not very supportive. I'm sure you wouldn't like it very much if everyone you complained to about whatever told you to STFU?

Here is a good blog for you to voice YOUR opinion on since you seem to not be very happy with the ones expressed here: www.rushlimbaugh.com

10:34 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

"I wish him and his fellow soldiers well:I suspect most are a bit more dedicated to the cause than he is."

What cause?

That statement just shows how many soldiers and marines you haven't talked to.

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want change?

Then from your position in Iraq, tell America not to listen to Fox News.

Tell America to read original wire stories off the web.

Tell to change the channels and put it together for themselves.

Until you guys in Iraq diss the propaganda machine that's keeping you there, you're not coming home.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

Memorial Day is not about remembering. It's about forgetting, taking an emotional bath in the blood of American soldiers in order to forget the millions that they were sent to slaughter in order to rob and dominate them while yammering about freedom - much like the scribes Jesus spoke of who robbed widows' houses and for a pretense made long prayers.

The mission, unfortunately, is to to give success to an unconstitutional usurpation and a criminal war of aggression. Any effort to make it work is an attack on the constitution that soldiers are sworn to uphold. Not only the people of Iraq and the rest of the world but we the American people need for this crime to end in humiliating defeat for own redemption, as happened to Greece in 1974, Argentina in 1981, and Germany and Japan in 1945.

7:22 AM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

Zeke, Zeke... Milo's following his orders. Any halfwit with a 3rd grade education can tell he's not talking insubordination, he's bitching. Soldiers bitch. That's up there with cleaning the rifle. And worse! He's allowed to do that, gosh, yeah, even in the military. He signed up, he's doing the job, he hates it, so fucking what? No one said he had to do it boyscout cheerful.

If that makes you uncomfortable or pisses you off, too damn bad. You hardly get to impugn his courage or dedication while you're sitting on your ass over here.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milo,

I came here from "The Sandbox" because what you posted there was very different from this. I won't be back because without fanfare and note by you, I have been doing every last thing I can or could do to support the military since long before you were ever thought of on this earth. I do believe I see the issues confronting us far more clearly than do you.

I am sorry that you are so literate, dedicated to your job and clearly do it so well, yet are so naive and so determined to suck morale out of those that read you there and certainly those that might read you here.

I now understand what made the Marine LCOL so angry. I am not angry; I am sad.

By the way, I spent my Memorial Day morning at Arlington National Cemetery as I have either in person or on CSPAN for 25 years or more and followed that up with letters to soldiers and it was only late in the day that I did anything that even remotely related to myself.

7:53 AM  
Blogger landsker said...

Have you ever wondered why governments like us to pay silent respect for soldiers who have died to make them powerful and rich?
Why indeed must we make ceremony for those who die in the service of warmakers?

I am always reminded of the one day, in Britain, during one of those "silent minutes", when a protester screamed out "Hiroshima, you murdering bastards".

Incidentally, there is a website where senior officers from the american military are slowly gathering with statements that accuse members of the government, and certain airforce personel of having been involved in the twin tower attack of 9/11.

Patriotsquestion9/11, is the website.
Interesting to know if the soldiers in Iraq realise that their own generals are accusing other americans of planning and carrying out the attacks.

There may be trouble ahead...

Soon
We'll be without the moon
Humming a diff'rent tune
And then....

2:17 PM  
Anonymous BobKincaid said...

"Anonymous," who sees the issues more clearly than everyone else, yet lacks the guts to put a name to his genius, and Zeke, living in a glorified fog of plastic yellow SUV magnets and reminiscences of days-gone-by that never happened in the first place, and George W. Bush, ruining everything his filthy, ignornant hands have ever touched, including our military, all have one thing in common:

The best part of them ran down their Mamas' legs.

Yeah, it's an insult. I thoroughly intend to insult these swine. They are beneath human dignity in their posturing, their posing and their dirt-dumb support of illegal, immoral slaughter.

Thanks, Anne and Milo, for letting us see what the REAL anti-Americans look like, the crowd that's doing everything it possibly can to destroy this once-great nation. They look like Zeke. They look ike "Anonymous." They look like that fat-ass ex-colonel cooling his heels and sucking up his retirement, scared all the way down to their sock-feet at the notion that folks in the military are wising up to the con(s) that put them in an unwinnable, unendable war.

Rock on, Milo! Hold fast, Anne!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Johannah said...

I have to admit that I enjoy the bbq's and the family time on memorial day and like you said that's all I thought about...

Before...

Now it's different. I went to a Marine Memorial service. It was beautiful and sad. My former boyfriend served in Iraq as a corpsman and lost some friends over there. I will never forget the little boy who ran up to his father's hand drawn picture and said, "That's my daddy!" All proud and happy. I cried when I saw that. Because his daddy died to serve his country. I understand now what memorial day is all about.
Thank you for what you do for our country.

6:44 AM  

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