Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Memory Loss


Sarge’s post last Sunday got me to thinking.  As a Vet, Memorial Day is important to me, as I’m sure it is to many of us here at The Chant, possibly even more so than Veteran’s day, because we all know what risks the job entails.  For Vets, it’s sort of an occupational hazard to know someone who died in the service of our country.  And even if we don’t know someone personally, our military culture is one to talk about them, name ships and awards after them, and never, ever forget.  Is it the same for everyone?  I doubt it. Sure, for the general populace of the US, we'll have Veterans' Day and Memorial Day from now until forever, if only for the public remembrance that gives us a day off, but what's it for?  I tend to think the meaning of those days, to some of those who didn't serve, will probably lose a little as time goes on. A little what you ask?  A little importance, actual impact, or genuine concern for what the day really means and what our warriors sacrificed for us.

Viet Nam and the World Wars were massively significant eras of our history so we remember them well.  And our schools teach that history to our children; At least I think they do.  More recent wars?  I’m not sure what is being taught.  There is so much politics involved in war, especially since Viet Nam, that today’s education system may very well spin the reasons for a particular conflict and force a false, partial, or dare I say it- left-leaning narrative.  I could be wrong, but based on my own daughter's understanding of recent historical events, I don't think I am.  After 9-11, the entire country was behind our fight in Afghanistan, but the constant ticker tolling the number of casualties reduced that support. Later, we pulled out of Iraq and Obama’s camp was all for it, giving up all the gains there to ISIS, and creating a Christian genocide

We became fatigued with war and the expense of it, so “The Long War” became history.  The peace-at-all costs crowd doesn't really care about people dying, only about our people dying.  And more specifically, only the budgetary cost of those deaths.  If the general public and our leadership truly cared about Memorial Day, they’d have some actual memory of just how much blood was sacrificed.  If so, they would have done what was necessary to retain what that blood paid for- a stable and somewhat secular Iraq, with a people that were now our allies, but still quite vulnerable.  Obama was so determined to play politics and pull every single soldier out of Iraq, that it became a lawless and unchecked battleground.  That decision resulted in over 135,000 dead, and the elimination of Christianity in the region.  Deaths that a token force could have prevented, easily wiping out a nascent ISIS threat. 


However, unlike WWII and Viet Nam, the public has been well insulated from the wars on terror.  There was no draft, only dedicated sheepdogs.  We didn't have drives to collect materials like rubber, silk, and tin since we're a wealthy country now.  We didn't need our wives and girlfriends taking up factory jobs since we have a well paid defense industrial complex.  War hasn't hurt so the impact hasn't been as dramatic.  And with deficit spending, even the fiscal cost of war has been nothing to worry about.  At least for now.

That insulation, that lack of understanding, is a very bad trend.  If war isn't painful, doesn't cost, and isn't difficult, we will lose touch with how tragic it can be, and how hard of a decision it should be to commit troops.  I know that war is just politics by other means, but if it's all politics and no pain, our leaders might push us towards conflicts without due consideration of the costs.

And our populace, the gentle sheep that haven't served and are without some connection to war's pain, could either cease being a check on our leaders who want war, or might never understand how war can sometimes be necessary.  They'll also forget about, or at least undervalue, the sacrifice of so many of our young men and women who died in those wars, strengthening our freedoms.  That leads to people also not realizing and appreciating all the benefits that comes with living here in the U.S., benefits that arise from those freedoms.  People take for granted how easy and wonderful it is to live here, not understanding both how it's different elsewhere, and what it took to earn this lifestyle.

If we lose our connection to our freedoms, we lose much of what our national identity really is- a Constitutional Republic made up of independent states.  With the constitution and our Bill of Rights as it's foundation, cemented in place by Judeo-Christian values and fiercely independent people who succeed and flourish under capitalism.  Many in our socieity have already lost that connection though, due to a biased media, a corrupted educational system, and politicians that can only obfuscate and lie to their people. And we're already seeing the effects, with attacks on free speech, religious freedom, and the value of life atrophying to the point of some people accepting infanticide.   

Did I just equate a lazy acceptance of a Memorial Day off to our current political situation?  Yes, I guess I did.  It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but it really isn't.  If we forget our past, we lose our future.  And our past was only achieved by hard work, cooperation, respect for others, and the men and women who fought for us.  

For those reasons, I'll never forget what Memorial Day is for.

P.S. I found this in an article sent to me by FbL after I wrote the part about being insulated by war. Similar point to my own, but touches upon the idea that a vet could be hurt by the public's apathy. I'm not sure I would feel this way, but I thought it was worth sharing:

The gap between the citizen and the soldier is growing ever wider. Whereas in WWII the entire nation’s focus was on purchasing war bonds and defeating the Nazi’s, today’s populace is quickly amused by the latest Kardashian scandal on TV. Because the populace is more concerned about enjoying their freedoms and going about their day to day lives, the veteran can feel like an outcast. As though nothing they did mattered for a country that asked them to go.                                                                                                Source

P.P.S  It would have taken a typical, but unneeded tangent for me regarding my discussion of our national identity, but I have no time for those who believe that Judeo-Christian values established by old dead white men shouldn't be valued or are not universal.  This excerpt from an American Thinker article explains that point well.

The civic Judeo-Christian ethos does not demand adherence to the details of religion or to a particular form of worship or religious creed, nor loyalty to a particular religion. The ethos is open to all, just as is Western civilization. That its founders and ancestors were mostly white is not a structural roadblock to all sharing in its outlook, except in the mind of racialists eager to impute racism in anything distinctive or weaponize against those with whom they disagree.


  1. Spot on Tuna. That last paragraph I'll fly from the ramparts.

    1. Thanks N12. The excerpt? Or the past/future point?

  2. Very well done. This was a 10X shot! You don't miss the water till the well runs dry. And if you don't maintain the well, it's your own fault when it does.

  3. Brilliant Tuna, we should post this every year at this time.

    Thoughtful and profound, thank you.

  4. I'm afraid we no longer teach western civilization or christian values or civics and history is something not so much forgotten, as never learned. We have a mass psychosis now that pretends to believe that it is physically impossible to distinguish between girls and boys, men and women and all are required to submit to the will of the 2% of confused idiots out there and their idiotic notions about sex and gender. As you say, they gutted the educational system here and are making strides on making it illegal to practice your first amendment and second amendment rights. It's kind of sad.

  5. I'll just echo the foregoing plaudits on this post. Probably one of the best ever posts I have been privileged to read. Well done, Sir.

  6. Your words are very powerful and humbling. We send our young to fight far away and then forget about them. Our politicians and those who pull the strings appear far more concerned about illegal aliens than our vets or old people. It does seem to be layers of masks over masks over masks as to what is actually happening.

    And, yes, this should become a yearly (for a while at least) Memorial Day/Armed Forces Day post. The military today has become forgotten, much like the military pre WWI or WWII. Except, as you pointed out, we as a nation seem to have forgotten all those deaths.

    Your analysis of the rise of ISIS and who is first at fault is spot on. Like with Clinton and Carter before him, we will spend decades recovering from Obama, if we can.

  7. Thanks Chanters. Glad you liked it. I've been thinking these thoughts for years. Our fight in Nam was hamstringed by politics; Politics gave up Fallujah twice; How apathetic some are to the reasons for our holidays. It just took Sarge's post the other day to get me to write them down.

    1. Our fight in Korea was also somewhat hamstrung by politics. Unfortunately, the lessons learned by the politicians from Korea were spun 100 fold in Vietnam.

      In some ways Trump is right in that if we go rescue someone, we should get something out of it. It used to be gracious countries gave us land in perpetuity for cemeteries, or memorials, and basing rights. Nowadays we swoop in, blow stuff up, break everything and then are handed the bill to fix and change everything.

      Something for something.

      And, EU, pay for your own damned defense for once.

    2. Well, we did pay to rebuild Europe and Japan, at least until they could take over themselves. It's the "you break it, you bought it" idea. We broke Iraq, then left them with the ISIS bill.

  8. Well Tuna, you don't post often, but when you do, you do you do a bang up job. First rate.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  9. Replies
    1. My pleasure, and somewhat my duty- to remember and speak for my brothers who have died.

  10. I am privileged to live near Arlington National Cemetery, in fact, I drove past it going to, and from, work each day for many years. It is a beautiful place to see, and an even better place to reflect on what Arlington stands for.
    The rolling hills hold the graves of thousands of men, and women, who share one thing in common. They all took up arms and put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. They rank from private to General of the Army, from seaman recruit to Fleet Admiral, and from John Q. Citizen to Presidents of the United States.
    In my visits there, and they have been far too often, I am always awed by the thought that herein lie the mortal remains of those who did not hesitate to put their lives on the line to defend what General Mattis has called this great experiment in democracy. The sound of muted drums, the steady tread of the caisson horses, the crashing sound of distant musketry, and the melancholy notes of taps echoing across the quiet hills are an ever present reminder that it is the sacrifice of the very best of us that has preserved this nation.
    I have been fortunate to travel widely and have stood where Americans have fought, and died, for freedom from Europe to far Pacific Islands, from Panama to Korea, and on battlefields too numerous to mention. But, on each, I have had the same thoughts, here Americans fought, and died, with no other aim than to preserve our freedom. And therein is the true spirit of Memorial Day. Let us remember, and honor, each of those who have willingly risked life itself to defend our nation and our freedom.

    1. Thank you, Dave, for what you just wrote. That is more eloquent and thoughtful than most things I've read.

      And you are right. There is a certain.. hush of loud sound that haunts battlefields and military cemeteries.

  11. THIS, this right here is what I have been saying for forever:

    "And our populace, the gentle sheep that haven't served and are without some connection to war's pain, could either cease being a check on our leaders who want war, or might never understand how war can sometimes be necessary. They'll also forget about, or at least undervalue, the sacrifice of so many of our young men and women who died in those wars, strengthening our freedoms. That leads to people also not realizing and appreciating all the benefits that comes with living here in the U.S., benefits that arise from those freedoms. People take for granted how easy and wonderful it is to live here, not understanding both how it's different elsewhere, and what it took to earn this lifestyle."

    Only not as well as you did Tuna!!!

    It has been my experience that unless it costs you something, you do not value that something...that sacrifice is important and is one major reason why WWII was and still is viewed the way that it is in this country compared to Viet Nam, and all the other wars/conflicts since.

    Thank you again sir!! Very well said!!!

  12. Thanks Suz. I was divinely inspired by Sarge.

  13. BZ Tuna. Taking this one public.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)