For years I was a member of the Honor Guard detail of our local VFW Post in Northome, Minnesota. Each year I would listen to "Taps" being played at each of the five cemeteries we would go to, and the sound of that bugle never failed to send a chill through me.
Every Memorial Day weekend the television stations show those sappy World War II propaganda films where our valiant Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Flyboys fight and die saving the world.
Usually at the end of the movie somebody is getting one of those shiny gold colored medals, and if the rest of the cast are in their dress uniforms, they all have those rows of ribbons over their left breast pocket.
Today the military isn't much different than in those old movies. They still give out shiny medals, and every branch of the service still has dress uniforms. Yes, they have swords, even the Air Force has their own sword. Of course the Navy has a sword, but also a cutlass, too.
All of these uniforms are part of the propaganda campaign to make those in the service feel they are like the knights of old, and it makes young future Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen think about how cool it will be when they join up.
Last night the TV show "60 Minutes" had a program Honoring Our Veterans, and PBS did one on Medal of Honor winners.
I guess the reason I am jaded now when it comes to Memorial Day is that it really isn't a day to honor Veterans. It is a day companies and corporations can have huge sales and make big profits. It is a day our military can use, with the help of our media, to pump up America and make it proud of our wars.
It gives the hundreds of thousands of loved ones of those who died in those wars a story of valor and courage they can hang on to when they think of those they lost. The Pentagon can use Memorial Day as a recruitment tool to get more young men and women to join up.
So, America really does not have a day that they truly set aside to honor our Veterans, and to be honest, the rest of the year, Americans forget the Vet, except if they see one of those old faded bumper stickers saying we that we haven't forgotten them.
So, we still play Taps at the cemeteries, and the flags are up all over every town and courthouse square, but for me, it is just a show. Washington sets this day, or now I guess this weekend aside to try and make all of us feel proud that we have been in an almost constant state of war some place on this globe for more than the last half century. Well, I don't think it works anymore.
I am sick of hearing how our military men and women are giving their lives to protect America. It doesn't take very long in combat to realize the only people you are willing to die for are the members of your unit. You quickly see that the troops are expendable, and that war is about making money for some, but not the people fighting in it
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