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May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, 2005

Captain Brian Letendre was killed in Ramadi in 2006.

Some continue to find - and give - meaning to Memorial Day. Some, not so much:

Sadder than Americans blissfully, casually, carelessly enjoying a three-day weekend is that people like Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran, former Army colonel and a Boston University professor of international relations, think the kind of evil our soldiers are fighting and dying to thwart can be safely ignored. The millions who were murdered or were imprisoned as a result of our abandonment of Vietnam don’t get a Memorial Day. Had the counterinsurgency effort been allowed to develop there, would that terrible chain of events that led up to 9/11 transpired? Would the Soviets have been emboldened to invade Afghanistan, would a U.S. president have been so cowed as to allow that and allow Islamic extremists to humiliate the United States? It’s hard to say. All those events had dire, long-term consequences, not least because American credibility had been compromised.

Were these wars avoidable? Hard to say, even with Iraq, for all the second guessing. Sometimes it seems like evil’s a bus. There’s always another one coming, and both Saddam and al-Qaeda were runaway trains. Thank God, in any case, that no one followed Bacevich’s advice on Iraq or Afghanistan. We’d be marking a Memorial Day rendered more empty and meaningless than any beach barbecue.

I don't begrudge Andrew Bacevich his grief, or even his bitterness.

I do hope that one day he will see at least part of what these men and women purchased for us at such great cost.

Remember them.

Posted by Cassandra at May 31, 2010 12:07 PM

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Sometimes, this seems so appropriate for the day.
Remember Brian Letendre, Nick Washalanta, Mike Stokely, and so many others. And pray that Col Bacevich can find some peace in this world. Who can know the grief of loss that he feels?


Where now is the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk,
and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring,
and the red fire glowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain,
like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West
behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?


And now, I have my own journey to make, this Memorial Day.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at May 31, 2010 02:05 PM

Still beautiful, Don.

Thanks for remembering.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 31, 2010 03:43 PM

A special Privilege of Sacrifice, one no person would seek, but if not borne by some, then who should bear it in their place.

It was our turn, just as a million or so others have taken their turn.


proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

Posted by: Robert Stokely at May 31, 2010 04:53 PM