In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

On Memorial Day, we honor those who have fallen in defense of our nation. But for all those who fell and were buried on battlefields, many more died in training, of disease or starvation, in hospitals and ambulances. And many more come back with wounds — both physical and mental — that eventually claim them. General Joshua Chamberlain is thought to have died of lingering wartime wounds at 85 (and I believe it; it would have taken more than old age to kill Chamberlain).

Every day, soldiers die from wounds taken in our wars over the last century. But no wound is more pervasive and heart-rending that the mental ones we cannot see. Every day, 20 veterans take their own lives and about one active soldier does. The time to honor the living is Veteran’s Day. But those who die because of the horrors they have witnessed and the wounds inflicted on their souls and minds are honored no less than those who fell by a bullet at Normandy.

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  1. Mississippi Yankee

    Our American brethren have fallen in battle ever since the Lexington/Concord bridge. And yes this is the day to celebrate their lives along with their loses, and our own sorrow by losing them.

    But Hal, when you use this day to further your ideological agenda me and you come to fighting terms.

    Every day, 20 veterans take their own lives and about one active soldier does. The time to honor the living is Veteran’s Day. But those who die because of the horrors they have witnessed and the wounds inflicted on their souls and minds are honored no less than those who fell by a bullet at Normandy.

    You neglected to mention, of course, how many of these veteran have lived full productive lives, see what’s in store for them as far as dwindling cash or a shrinking financial legacy for their families. Many struggle to breathe (lord know I’m heading the route) or may be in constant pain due to cancer. Loss of a spouse factors into suicides often.

    So I piss on your figure of 20 veterans a day, not because it probably is statistically true, but because you choose to use it disingenuously to encompass all vets deaths irregardless of age, health or situation.
    And a huge factor that your politically pushed post again fails to note is that from WW II until the end of Viet Nam ALL male boys were required to serve their country. That is unless their daddy was a rich doctor or some such.

    And not to play one upmanship with bgeek but this new song really brought home the spirit of today.

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