Thanking our veterans

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Perhaps you have missed my regularly contributing to the Selma Times-Journal lately. If so, thank you for your thoughts and patience during my brief absence. In addition to my home health care duties, my computer, fickle as it is, decided to die as retribution for my neglect. Thankfully, I have it going again, but only limping along without some of my favorite programs and word processor.

I regret not being able to give a shout out to all the brave men and women serving in our military forces on Armed Forces Day, May 21. They are really deserving of our admiration and respect for serving, especially, during the past seven and a half years under this administration. They have been used as guinea pigs for all the social engineering experiments championed by this president. It is not about how prepared and well they can fight, but how well they socialize and adapt to gender mixed units and to others with variances in social behavior. It is cause for concern as to what kind of fighting force is being developed. It also fuels my contention that the commander-in-chief should be a veteran of our armed forces. These are indeed trying times for our military personnel.

Also, on my list of regrets is not contributing a column on Memorial Day this year. This may be the first time in about 20 years I haven’t penned a tribute to our war dead in some manner. My pappy used to say, “it’s better late than never,” and there is wisdom in the premise. Therefore, my vain attempt to make up for my shortcoming. I could barely restrain myself from the task other than being overwhelmed with other responsibilities. In addition, the other concerns hampered words from flowing through my fingers to the keyboard.

A lot of my thoughts have been directed toward the Vietnam War veterans of late. It certainly became a very divisive and to some an unpopular war. The men and women who fought and died there are every much as special and deserving of our admiration, respect and remembrance as others. There is no distinction or hierarchy of those who wore the uniform and placed themselves at the tip of the spear for our country. It is a debt of gratitude we are incapable of repaying. However, we can keep the candle of freedom burning as a tribute to those who gave their life for it.

Why do we have a Memorial Day? It is to pay tribute and remembrance to the 959,831 military deaths which includes battle deaths, and other deaths (in theater) during America’s wars from 1775-1991. There were an additional 230,279 other deaths in service (non-theater) during the period.

Of course, this number does not include those deaths from 1991 to present. Of the staggering military deaths listed above, 58,220 are attributed to the Vietnam War from 1955-1975 with another 32,000 deaths in service (non-theater). Data is derived from the Department of Veterans Affairs report dated May 2015.  “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” —John Adams

R.I.P. fellow patriots, lest we forget the sacrifices you made for our safety and freedom.