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Memorial Day 2013

Posted by on May 26, 2013

Like a lot of other Americans these days, I’m spending too much time pissed off about way too many things in this great nation of ours. I’m not perceptive enough to fully understand how we got ourselves into such a mess, but I do know it’s gotten me to thinking about Memorial Day this year. And that’s another thing that pisses me off.

As a veteran, I’m angry that this day will be passed by most of my countrymen with not one thought about the millions of Americans who lost their lives in our nation’s wars or undeclared conflicts. As one who has watched men die in combat, I’m upset that we’ve lost perspective on what Memorial Day means. Back in 1868, General John Logan decided his nation had forgotten the fallen on both sides of the bloody Civil War. He issued a proclamation that eventually led to declaration of a day of remembrance for all our war dead. That’s how we wound up with a red-letter day on our national calendar meant to provide a break from everyday chores and honor those who made the supreme sacrifice to preserve our freedom.

Somehow we’ve managed to turn that day into a combination barbecue, beer-bust, shopping mall safari and three-day weekend fun-fest. It’s just too damn bad for the veterans resting under their somber headstones who can’t join in the festivities. That’s a national travesty. Does it mean that the good people of my polyglot nation really don’t give a damn about the courageous men and women who died just because their nation asked them to risk it and they believed it was their duty, their obligation, and their honor to take the chance of losing it all? I hope not—but I’m finding it hard to see contrary signals.

Notice when I’m talking about these fallen Americans I don’t use terms like “gave their lives” and you shouldn’t either. That would imply they wanted to die. Believe me when I tell you they wanted to live, but they came up short on luck of the draw in combat. They wanted to live freely in a nation that gives them a chance for success and happiness if they survived and worked hard for it. That promise made taking the chance on dying in combat worth the risk. This Memorial Day—and every day we draw breath in this great nation—we need to remember that.

9 Responses to Memorial Day 2013

  1. Gary

    We are sad that Capt Dye is not speaking somewhere in the southland this Memorial Day.

  2. Anne Abbott

    Dear Sir,
    For the past 15 years I have cooked with the USMC league and marched in parades for my fellow veterans, my father, and Uncle who both served in the Army. Not that I hold that against them. I am the only Marine in a family of army veterans dating back from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and present. This year however, I decide to stay home with my husband, but never forgetting the importance of the day. My grandchildren know the significance of a veteran. Passing on the tradition.
    Semper Fi

  3. Van Perl

    Dale was with, during memorial Day 2013 was in New Orleans kicking back a couple bottles of booze with a bunch of 2/3 Marines Vietnam Era

  4. DUSTOFF 73

    I’ll never forget the first friend I met in Boot Camp, Angelo Vaccaro. Angelo had joined to escape a tough background and become a combat medic. One day a huge bully came at me and Angelo leaped in between us ready to pulverize this guy, screaming and hollering in his thick Italian accent. I think he shocked the guy into submission. That’s just how he was. Heroes don’t start fights but they are willing to finish them when nobody else will. When his friends were in trouble he was right their, willing to take a punch in the nose for a friend. We stayed close and I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his family. Not long after that he jumped in between his friends and danger again, this time into machine gun fire and an RPG. He was killed on Oct 2nd 2006 trying to shield his patients.

    This day should be when we honor those few special people that are willing to die so that somebody else gets to see their family again. Those that said goodbye to their loved ones knowing that they might never see them again, and were right.

    I invited a French helicopter engineer to eat breakfast with me after a conference in Texas last year. He remarked that our all-volunteer military was the envy of the world. The draft had since ended in France, and he was concerned about the effect it would have on the young people. He said that with the vast differences in economic, political, and social backgrounds, the gap between citizens would be so overwhelming that people would lose their understanding of others. The space between the sheep and the dwindling sheep dogs would only widen to the point where the wolves would slip in unnoticed. I have seen the potential of man’s pride first hand. Bullies don’t stop because you run away. They just keep bullying you.

    So to me Memorial Day is the day we celebrate the peacemakers, not the pacifists. We celebrate those few that are willing to take a punch in the nose for a friend.

  5. Scott Ritchey

    I was lucky enough to be here in Guam for Memorial day. Spent the day at the War in the Pacific park with hundreds of other people. I went the the museum they have here. I saw through pictures and words what our Greatest Generation did here. As I told Dale, its amazing looking at the landscape here. What our Marines, and My fellow Seabees had to go through to Liberate this beautiful Island and its People. I look at that place and time closely, then this time. We need more of the same type people, and the mindset of that time in which to save our own Country!

  6. van perley

    Dale Dye was in New Orleans Memorial Day 2013.

  7. Seabee56

    My father sure had hopes and dreams as a 19 year old kid stepping on that beach on Okinawa in 1945. He never realized those 2 1/2 months of battle and combat plus the horrors of burial detail day after day for weeks afterward would affect him and his families the rest of their lives. We as Americans need to count the cost of our seldom cherished freedom by honoring their sacrifice! It is my desire to spend the remaining years I have left on this earth to help those returning from war like my father did, readjust to coming home to their families and friends. This won’t be a easy rode for me, but I am willing to take it!

  8. Jim Jones

    Dale, I think of you often, and of the days we shared together at OU back in ’77, and have followed your career with admiration and appreciation. Without getting downright maudlin here, let me just say that when Dr. L. Brooks Hill asked me if I knew anything about what happened to Fred Kerlinger’s “The Foundations of Behavioral Research,” missing from our hooch, I rightly pleaded ignorance. I live in a 55+ community (I’m a few months older than you are) next to the Seabee base in Port Hueneme.

  9. MICHAEL E. O'BRIEN

    Sir. Thank you for your outstanding service to our country. Excellent job as a technical advisor. As an MP in my military career, I agree the backbone of our military is the “Grunt”, a term I use with much respect. Again, thank you.

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