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Memorial Day Link May 30, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.

Though my and my wife’s families have strong traditions of military service, I never really know what to say on Memorial Day: none of our family members have died on active duty, a record which I pray holds true for my son in the Navy. Fortunately, DaveinTX always has a worthy Memorial Day post, so I recommend heading over to Ace’s and reading that.

One thing I haven’t liked about this years’ Memorial Day posts is the “don’t thank me on Memorial Day” breed of posts coming from current and former service members. The notion is that they lived, so Memorial Day isn’t for them. I say balderdash ==> remembering those who live is a complement to remembering those who died. It’s an acknowledgment that, survivor or casualty, they offered their life for their country.

There’s never a bad day to honor the contributions of those in the military, and Memorial Day is a particularly good day for it, fallen or not.


1. digitalbrownshirt - May 30, 2016

I disagree, thanking us for our service at Memorial Day is the one time I don’t think it’s appropriate. A lot of veterans are dealing with survivor’s guilt. Telling me thank you at Memorial Day feels wrong, like I’m stealing something that belongs to them. I’ve talked to a lot of other veterans about this and it’s a pretty common opinion, especially amongst combat vets. My son has a hard time with this every year. His unit lost two men while they were there, then 3 more died shortly after returning. One was a definite suicide and the other two might have been suicides, but they didn’t leave notes so who knows?

2. geoff - May 30, 2016

I can see your point, but it kind of makes my point, too. Sufferers of survivor’s guilt obviously “shouldn’t” feel that way – they did nothing wrong, and they could easily have been casualties themselves. Maybe they’re not in a psychological place where they’re ready to believe that, but certainly they deserve every bit of respect and acknowledgment that those who lost their lives do.

But somebody suffering from survivor’s guilt like you describe has a far higher moral ground than I, so I’ll defer to your position.

3. digitalbrownshirt - May 30, 2016

Thank you. I think it’s different for each vet, but it’s close to being traumatic for some of them. Dying young happens every day, but it’s not natural and when you get older and know some friends who didn’t, it leaves you feeling kind of weird inside. Of those 5 men from my son’s unit the oldest one was only 28 years old. He had a wife and two daughters. They hit an IED and he got killed and everybody else survived and you have to wonder why it happened that way. Why didn’t they all die, or why didn’t they all live? What if they took a different route? What if they recognized it before they reached it? The “what ifs” can chew up the mind and God help you if you’re a sensitive man because it’ll eat you up more than most men.

4. digitalbrownshirt - May 30, 2016

I’m mostly referencing my conversations with my son. We didn’t raise him to be a warrior. He wanted to be a missionary when he was a child. 9/11 changed his direction and I although I’m proud of his service, I can tell it’s harmed him emotionally. It’s been 5 years already, but there are still things we just don’t talk about.

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