OT: Thinking of Troops Past and Present on this Memorial Day Weekend

Submitted by MGoVoldemort on May 27th, 2018 at 12:38 PM
As is tradition in my family, I served in the US Army for almost 5 years. In what is also family tradition, I was deployed to a war zone, spending 13 months in Iraq. Unlike my family, however, my time in Iraq was spent merely trying to live to the next day. My deployment in Iraq was highlighted by the famous “insurgency” President Bush loved to mention, which some days, meant literally going door-to-door to root it out. It was a truly awful experience, because you simply never knew what was behind the next door. I spent most of my free time thinking that this must have been what Vietnam was like for my Father and Uncles. But then quickly dismissing it, because their experience had been so terrible, and so costly both mentally and physically. And I always dared not compare it to my both of my grandparents experiences in WWII, because their service has always been up on a pedestal for me. Almost Schembechler like for Michigan fans; where no matter who else came, they would always be chasing a ghost of a ghost. Coming home from Iraq, I ignored PTSD symptoms for as long as I possibly could. A lot of my fellow soldiers did. I find this particularly true of soldiers from the Afghan and Iraqi wars. Because of previous American Wars, our service always seemed less than, so how could it affect us so thoroughly? It was, of course, a ridiculous notion then, and now. It wasn’t until the HBO series “The Pacific”, and a particular line from an episode that shook me to my core, that I understood that war is war. "Sid, what's it like?" -Sledge. "I slept with a woman in Melbourne. I'm not bragging. That's at one end, right? And then way down there, as far as you can go, that's what it's like. And that... that you can never imagine." -Phillips. Not only did that line help me come to terms with what had been unresolved pain and suffering, it also gave me a further appreciation for the men and women that came before, and will come after me. Thank you to all the vets out there. Your service is appreciated, no matter when and where it was.

Comments

mgobob

May 27th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

Nam vet here, spent yesterday with others from my VFW post at several cemeteries in the area placing flags on veterans headstones.

MGOBLUEDO

May 27th, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

Thank you veterans for your service. Memorial day should be a solemn time to remember those who served our great country and those we lost defending our freedom. Not about BBQ and vacation trips or sales.

Sopwith

May 27th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Memorial Day has really suffered from "holiday drift." It's specifically set aside for remembrance of those who served and died. If anything, it's supposed to be sober, reflective, and thoughtful. How it got entirely conflated with beer, swimming pools, mattress sales, and BBQ just sails right past me.

This isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm binging Ken Burns' The Civil War this weekend. Talk about sobering. The single day totals of war dead by today's perspective are just unfathomable.

Sam1863

May 27th, 2018 at 7:40 PM ^

Burns' work is a great way to spend this day. The Sullivan Ballou letter and Sam Watterson's reading of The Gettysburg Address are the parts that always get to me.

StirredNotShaken

May 27th, 2018 at 1:03 PM ^

I can't imagine what it must have been like to live what you describe. I've read several books on the soldier experience in Iraq and Afghanistan (and other wars) and I'm always left in awe. You and your brothers were every bit as brave as anyone who came before you and you all have the greatest level of respect and appreciation from me.

MGoVoldemort

May 27th, 2018 at 9:28 PM ^

I guess I’m not understanding this reply. Forgive me. My post was meant to honor those that have died, especially some that I served with. Perhaps my post was a tad long, but it’s really the only way I can make sense of it.

His Dudeness

May 27th, 2018 at 4:28 PM ^

As well... As in "as well as thanking our troops."

If you do some talking to actual combat veterans many will speak to the loss of innocent civilians. It's not as if remembering those lost on memorial day is a novel concept. Not sure why that comment would seem unpatriotic in any way unless you are really reaching.

Perkis-Size Me

May 27th, 2018 at 6:32 PM ^

Did you ever stop and consider the possibility that people do honor the troops but also think about the affected civilians as well?

Jesus H Christ this country has to always be so effing black and white. So sickeningly politically correct. If we don’t directly say we’re for you and your beliefs, you’re just going to assume we’re flag-burning terrorists.

bacon1431

May 28th, 2018 at 12:21 AM ^

If we are going down that line, there’s no such thing as an innocent American civilian either. We’ve had our fair share of elected officials commit genocide or other wretched things.

Most civilians don’t ask for war on their front door. But it comes to them anyways. Plus, I imagine roughly 40-50% of civilians are children. So yeah, they really get what’s coming to them.....

UM Griff

May 27th, 2018 at 5:19 PM ^

Who was a bombardier shot down and killed in Italy in 1943. I remember all our brave veterans who died defending our freedom.

Hail Harbo

May 27th, 2018 at 5:31 PM ^

Brendan Eskey was a tank gunner in my platoon who lost his life in an ammunition fire at Grafenwoehr, Germany.  The next year during Operation Desert Storm 1st Armor Division memoralized Sergeant Eskey by naming a range for him.  This year, as every for the last 29 years, he'll be in our memories during our Memorial Day remembrances. 

Roanman

May 27th, 2018 at 7:53 PM ^

But never mistake the cabal of lying, civilian, pond scum, regardles of political affiliation that sends them into harm's way year after year after year after year after ... for the patriots that they fashion themselves to be.

Wanna do something good for the people serving so honorably in our military? Eschew virtue signalling and get to work getting their asses home from the shit holes our pissant excuse for a government keeps sending them into.

MaineGoBlue

May 27th, 2018 at 8:11 PM ^

As a friendly reminder (SIAP, but I didn’t see it). The SMU game has an option to donate tickets for vets... everyone needs to do it! I’m donating my 2 season tickets and will buy more. It’s the least we can do for people who allow us to enjoy the life we live. Thank you all for your service!

BigWeb

May 28th, 2018 at 1:43 PM ^

I like to sit back and remember all the other Sailors I served with. There were great times and bad times but they are always in my memories. Go Navy.