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Homage To Memorial Day

Updated on May 29, 2011

Homage To Memorial Day

Friday, I was in Manhattan seeking gainful employment when I witnessed men and women of the various branches of the Armed Services, adorned in their respective uniforms, enjoying the milieu of the Big Apple. Perhaps, I am biased because I too once wore the uniform, but I always feel a sense of pride to see these men and women enjoying what little respite are provided them before going back to their duties and putting their lives on line to secure Democracy.

The other side of the coin is heart breaking though because had I walked a little farther I would have probably ran into homeless veterans who are going through hell… trying to survive civilian life. Before you get the idea that these men are all addicts - yes some of them are - but the majority is just trying to navigate the difficult economic times we are mired in.

At this juncture I will paraphrase and barrow from Shakespeare by opining that a pox on both our houses. It is true that for many of us who served that there seems to be a palpable feeling of kinship with Republicans… probably borne out of the memories of who supported those mobs who would have spat on my father when he returned from Vietnam. Notwithstanding these supposed feelings, the fact is that there are countless veterans, around this country, who are suffering miserably and both sides, Republicans or Democrats, could not careless. Yes, I know that I am judging all of Washington collectively, but both sides seem to drag the soldiers out for photo ops when it is convenient, but in these times of hardship, the manifestation of help from these politicians does not match their flowery rhetoric for the soldiers during their photo-ops.

Think of it… there are actual cases of soldiers who are active, but whose pay and perks are not enough for them to survive. Many military families find themselves on public assistance... having to swallow their pride and reach out for a helping hand. I wish that the soldiers, be they active or retired, got the pay and retirement package other Federal workers have; yet, I know that this is not so and that we have to find a solution to enable our Veterans at least a middle-class existence. It is easier said than done in these times of lack of revenues, but surely we can have a standard of living for soldiers commensurate to their sacrifice for this great country.

As we settle back this Monday… observing Memorial Day, we might think of the sacrifice these men and women have pledged to undertake. After all, what did Jesus, the Christ, say: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15: 13).”

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