(Sigh.) WordPress decided NOT to post this 1st thing this morning, as I had TOLD it to. WordPress is revolting! (“You said it, it stinks on ice!” :D )
As we pause to honour those brave veterans who gave their last full measure, I thought I’d offer a bit of a challenge. In a similar vein to my “When History Becomes Hearsay” post, as time passes, we also run the risk of not just losing memories, but losing entire wars. Sure, everybody knows a bit about the World Wars, Vietnam, and our more recent battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War are all well-covered ground, as well. Even Korea, “The Forgotten War”, is getting more press these days – something I’m very happy to see, being the son of a Korean War vet.
But what of the lesser-known wars that shaped our country? The Mexican-American War in the 1840s trained the leaders of our Civil War some 15 years later, and gave us part of the Marine Corps anthem – the Halls of Montezuma. The Spanish-American War gave us a future President and our first overseas territories, and transformed the US Navy from little more than a glorified Coast Guard to a modern, two-ocean fleet. And how many of you know that Americans and Russians have fought each other? Check out the battles between the Soviet “Red” armies and the Czarist “White” armies following World War 1. Some others might include the colonists’ role in the French and Indian Wars, and our actions as part of multiple-ally actions such as the Boxer Rebellion in China and during the Bosnian War of the early 1990s, as well.
So, as you gather with family, or catch up on the Indy 500, as you lounge about digesting great quantities of steak, burgers, hot dogs … or even fish (YUCK! ;) ) … or even if tomorrow is a day of work around the house, take a moment to think of those of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, who have given us so much. As a certain starship’s doctor once said, “He’s not really dead. As long as we remember him.” And as long as we remember these battles, great and small, well-known and not, then their sacrifices will never be forgotten. And that IS the best way to start the summer season – knowing what we have, and what it took to secure it.
Happy Memorial Day!