I am reminded of something that happened a while back. Someone wished me a Happy Memorial Day. It was a woman and her children were present. I am under the impression she singled me out because of my regulation haircut.
I feel guilty for how I reacted, but I told that person to go fuck themselves. I couldn't help myself. I confessed to the Chaplain later and asked for Forgiveness. There was nothing else for me to do, for I do not know the woman nor have I seen her again. I am unable - not unwilling - to apologize.
In my head, in the moment before I responded with the unfortunate expletive, I had asked her many questions.
Did she remember Charles and Andrew? Charles, who bled to death on Andrew's back while Andrew struggled to carry Charles 25 kilometers to safety. Andrew, who wound up drinking much of Charles' blood because of the position with which he was carrying his friend. No, she did not.
Did she remember Daniel and Jonathan? Daniel, who was burned alive trying to push the rest of his squad out of a downed aircraft engulfed in flames. Jonanthan, Daniel's youngest soldier, who - despite a broken arm - tried to pull Daniel from the aircraft but only succeeded in having portions of Daniel's immolated flesh stuck to his hands. No, she did not.
Did she remember Thomas and Scott? Thomas, who volunteered to stay behind during a retreat for no other reason than he had twisted his ankle and knew he would slow the retreat enough that they would no doubt be overrun. Scott, who volunteered to stay with Thomas for no other reason than to alleviate Thomas the loneliness of dying alone. No, she did not.
I suppose I reacted so badly because in her hand was a bag of frozen steaks and bottles of ketchup and mustard. It isn't their fault, I will admit. How are they to know not everyone has a barbeque for Memorial Day?
Anyway, I find that I should get to the point. If you're reading this, you have no doubt received - or will soon receive - notice that I have been killed in action. I ask you to not use my death as a topic of conversation, discussion, or debate for any future Memorial Day, or any other day set aside for the supposed remembrance of soldiers. I have no desire to be remembered by a society that cares more about a day at a beach than the men who stormed beaches to ensure they could have the freedom to celebrate. I suspect you would receive a great deal of superficial condolences and sympathy that would be as quickly forgotten - if not more so - than the many names found on many walls.
To paraphrase Larry Hama, "A soldier's job is to do the impossible, to do the unthinkable, and then be forgotten for it." I have done the impossible. I have done the unthinkable. I take no issue with being forgotten and have no desire to be thanked for my service.
All the good ones are dead. I am proud to be, once again, in their company.
I love you. Now and forever.
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