A culture which does not connect accurately, reverentially or beautifully with it’s past, is akin to a rudderless boat: doomed to be at the whim of waves and weather.
So today is Memorial Day. So what? Why should you or I care? Only because to not do so, is to engage in our personal demise and that of our families, and in turn, our Nation.
Wiki does a great job with relating the History of Memorial Day.
In the course of my work, on a somewhat regular basis, I get the opportunity to serve the various Military Communities which heed and fulfill our Nation’s call to Arms. I take a lot of joy, and more than a little bit of concern from those experiences, home with me. I hear their stories. These affect the perception of both my own life, and what time maybe ought to be spent doing. The experience is barometric in many ways.
Everyone has a story. There are many. But this is an aspect of the tale of Memorial Day which I want to be clear about. Those whose memory we honor today perished serving us, some of them anyway. Many of the remainder who are still alive, continue to serve, albeit possibly out of uniform.
A classic example being two young men who I met while working on a Phoenix Patriot project. They had both had their legs blown off, and were within a year of that crisis, swooping back into life with a vengeance. When the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, those men and their comrades went to Boston to counsel the blast victims. That is how those which this holiday is founded upon, think, and act.
In this culture, currently, it is in vogue, this saying :”Thank a Veteran”. My friend and colleague, Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue, regularly calls BS on this when she writes, states and acts this out: “Don’t just thank them. Do something for them.”
So part of my day today, and small way of honoring the memory of those dead and alive, whose duty to Country, Comrade and Family is absolute, is to share a few stories.
Here is a video I created as part of a project. The song it is cut to is called Dancing Girl, and is written by USMC veteran Samuel Shoemaker and performed by the Shoemaker Brothers. In it you can see, hear and feel, some of the tableau which should be endemic within every Memorial day.
This story is entitled “Purple Heart’s Final Beat – A Soldier Suicide Story”
This link explains the Spartan Pledge. I hope everyone reading this understands. I have lived through this with great men faced with daunting challenges. As a culture and community, we need to know that this exists. And we need to act to ensure our people are not slaughtered by the broken Veteran’s Administration system, which I have seen first hand, abuse and hurt some of my friends and colleagues in the Military in a criminally negligent manner..
This well produced tale walks sensitive ground. Again, a service rich look at our people published through Funker 530 Veterans Community and produced by CBS. Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook’s Memory is honored here.
Right now Shawn Alladio, Liquid Militia, Kawasaki and our friends are holding what they call a LM Team Weekend up on the Gaviota Coast at Rancho Dos Pueblos which very generously hosts the 5 day event. It is a campout where families of military communities meet up with the action sport and PWC communities, have fun in the Ocean, and generally just have a great time in the peace and security of Dos Pueblos Ranch’s private beach.
What Memorial Day looks like to me: Memory, Gratitude, Honor and Service.
It is why the stories matter so much. They are our strong foundation as a people. Best to do some maintenance on that when possible.
Lastly, here is a piece written by one of the single most decorated warriors in US History. The title is “War is a Racket”
It is up to us to change that.