I am the son of a Korean War Veteran and nephew of four WWII Veterans who risked their lives, praised those supremely sacrificed, felt inferior to those who returned never quite whole again, and endeared themselves to families left to endure the residue of war – never once thinking of themselves as America’s Greatest Generation.
I am a Veteran raised by veterans of wars, who in peace, were anonymous guardian angels, caregivers embracing those in need – bearing witness that bearing arms against foreign enemies is not our only necessary defense.
I am a Veteran who knows Veterans fighting the good fight by example, insisting, support our troops, include timely medical assistance and affordable housing.
True heroes defend us equally, from domestic violence and foreign cyber invasion – from ISIS inspired lone wolves and Alt-Reich Open Carry – from school bullies and pushy bully pulpit intimidation of world leaders.
We the People are the reflection pool of those we venerate every day, when the lives we live, honor their sacrifices, beyond flowers and flag waving.
Whether descendants of Native born, European immigrants, enslaved Africans, raped Hispanic farm labor, indentured white share croppers or Asians requisitioned to life in the mines or on the rails – diversity and unity are America’s Exceptionalism.
Bible read, denied or convenient prop — whether Ol’ Glory true blue or Party Politics belittling, demeaning and labeling others for self-defense – we face another, Gate, through which we see our hollowed-out sense of security – the dark side of, Follow the Money.
America is a Veteran of revolutionary birth, paradise lost, Depression, Wall Street induced tidal waves increasing gaps in income parity and, Bankers Remorse – all while enduring the ruthlessness of wars, responsibilities of peace and truth that, any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
Commemorate this: every crumbling infrastructure is Standing Rock; every grisly glossed over DeVos is Brown v. Board of Education; every Sessions fake recusal obstruction, Constitutional assassination — and every recompense, insufficient compensation for Mike Pence hypocrisy.
The arrogance and avarice of those who serve only themselves, disgraces all we honor on Memorial Day. Within the stark differences between civic statesmanship and Corporatism is the Veteran’s query: for what do we live, defend and die?
As Veterans of 2016, can we not reconsider what we honor, and perhaps in honor of all First Responders, refrain from calling each other, stupid, for all listening stops after that.
Nonetheless, there’s no difference between the violence seen at Trump campaign rallies, Gianforte’s body slamming a reporter and Turkish Body Guards brutally attacking peaceful American protesters on American soil – failing to recognize that, what excuse can we offer those we honor on Memorial Day, for sacrificing their lives or mental and physical health?
We are not here to judge, nor diminish the well-being of fellow Americans, for that can only dishonor the United States of America.
Life’s breath is not our gift to choke hold clean air and quality education for all. None have been called to undercut nutritious food for children, lead-free water for cities, nor to defund creativity or allow the wealthy to slash the intellectual development of the poor.
During the transition period before Donald Trump’s Inauguration, son-in-law, Jared Kushner allegedly told Russians he wanted to set up a secret communication channel with the Kremlin to avoid scrutiny by America’s National Security structure.
For our uniformed heroes, military, fire-fighters, police, nurses, doctors and Hidden Figures, who protect and defend all Americans, let us share a Buddy Bench, in every neighborhood.
Whether a friend struggling with addiction – a family member in need of medical assistance – a nation consumed by foreign wars – or a stranger on an Oregon train, greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for another.
America was not given great power to serve America first, but to serve Americans who honorably serve the equality and sanctity of humankind.
We are the Memory Keepers, who carry on. Therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.