Vietnam veteran & Senator Jim Webb’s book Fields of Fire starts with the dedication: “For the 100,000 Marines who became casualties in Vietnam. And for the others who became casualties upon their return.”
In one passage, a staff sergeant in Vietnam says, “It ain’t what happens here that’s important. it’s what’s happening back there. Shit, Lieutenant, you’d hardly know there was a war on. It’s in the papers, and college kids run around screaming about it instead of doing panty raids or whatever they were running around doing before, but that’s it. Airplane drivers still drive their airplanes. Businessman still run their businesses. College kids still go to college. It’s like nothing really happened, except to other people. It isn’t touching anybody except us. It makes me sick, Lieutenant.”
It was about a different war and a different time, but I think it still has a message for us on Memorial Day about how we treat our military and allow them to bear what should be a collective burden. Our soldiers and their families should always be well cared for and should not bear the burden of war alone.
Consider supporting an organization like Wounded Warrior Project and, importantly, others that lobby Congress for better policies that take care of our soldiers, like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
You can also take a pledge on the IAVA website to hold a moment of silence today at 3 pm, in honor of fallen soldiers.