Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day—Remembering Gramps


I didn't call this post HAPPY Memorial Day cos I don't think this necessarily IS a happy day—or should be. Many humans think today is all BBQ's, shopping the sales and fireworks; but, in reality, it's to honor the fallen. Those heroes who went to war and never came back. Heroes like TW's Uncle George, who she never had to privilege to meet. He never came home during World War 2.

A little history lesson is in order. This holiday was originally called Decoration Day and officially became known as Memorial Day in the 1960s. Its roots date to 1865, when it focused only on Union soldiers. As the nation healed; however, slain fighters on both sides of the Civil War were honored.

Gramps and his army buddies. He's at right in middle pic, top right in last pic.
My Gramps was in the Air Force during WW2. He served from 1942-1945, first in Scott Fields, and then England, France, Belgium and Germany. His specialty was fixing radios in planes. He came home a broken man and an alcoholic. He was one of the lucky ones who made it home.

This is the hat Gramps wore when he fought for our country. The klepto took the flag the VFW put on his grave.
I was planning to honor Gramps on this day for his service in WW2—the Big One—the last 'just" war, when I heard from a Twitter friend. It was during Nipclub. I was playing my usual "Let's Honor the Troops By Bringing Them Home" anti-war set, when I got a supporting Tweet from Allyson Levinshon (@snoopytheonly). We started tweeting and I learned that she's lost her cousin, Sean, in Iraq. I wish I knew more about Sean's life but I'm sad to say I don't.

It's hard enough to lose a loved one in a 'just" war, so I can't imagine how she must feel knowing he died in a war fought under false pretenses. General Colin Powell has said there were NEVER any WMDs but that doesn't bring back over 4000 American lives or bring solace to the 320,000 Vets with brain injuries, not to mention the Iraqi death toll. This figure varies widely between 100,000 to one million. Fact: 18 veterans commit suicide each day, according to the Army Times. If the Army is admitting this, we can only guess that the number must be higher. The London Daily Mail estimates that one U.S. veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan attempts suicide every 80 minutes, citing such reasons as post-traumatic stress disorder, high unemployment and a loss of military camaraderie after returning from tours.

Let's honor my Gramps and Sean by volunteering at a shelter, donating to Give An Hour, which provides free mental health services to veterans or Soldiers From Above, or becoming an advocate for homeless veterans in your local community. Maybe even invite one to your BBQ or fireworks display.

20 comments:

Marg said...

Wow is all I have to say. That is one terrific post and what a good idea to donate to that Give an Hour. I sure didn't know anything about that so glad to get the info. We sure will remember Gramps and Sean. Happy Memorial day to all of you.

Simba said...

A very sobering post, CK. Thank you to your Gramps for his service. We like your ideas for ways to honor those who have served, and especially those who died.

Katie Isabella said...

I like the post, momma does for certain and we both like the ways you mentioned to honor those who served and are serving. We like that very much. And we agree, there is not a celebration to be had. Just a remembrance.

Brian said...

That was a terrific tribute to your Gramps CK. We love all of our heros, past, present and future.

Mariodacat said...

Great pozt CK. And a good reminder to all of us that it isn't a celebration - it's to remember those who have died to save all of us.

Molly The Wally said...

Nice post and Happy Memorial Day.
Best wishes Molly

retro77 said...

Happy Day Memorial - greet

Katnip Lounge said...

CK--your post really moved me; it was perfect for today. I made a donation the other day to a vet, gave him a hug and thanked him for his service--now I'm really happy I did.

Sweet Purrfections said...

We remember and honor those who've fought for our freedom.

Truffle and Brulee

Nerissa said...

purrs...

Sparkle said...

Thank you for an awesome post, CK! Everything you said is the very reason I am both remembering, and purring for peace today.

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

Fantastic. We are both proud about and Saddened that so many are gone.
This was incredible and we thank you for sharing.
Yes, we are guilty for using the word "Happy" but we also will never forget.

Repositório said...

Wow! Great!!!

Carolyn said...

A very sobering post CK. I know that here in the UK there are more homeless veterans than any other group. They just couldn’t cope! Thanks for the timely reminder.

The Island Cats said...

Thank you for posting this, CK. Humans do forget what Memorial Day is all about. Thank you to your Gramps for his service.

Katie and Glogirly said...

A very powerful and meaningful post, CK. You are right...today is a day to remember and honor. Glogirly thinks a lot about her dad on days like this. He was a US Marine in WWII and fought in the Pacific Theatre. He was injured on Iwo Jima, but made his way home safe.
He was and will always be her hero.

Thanks for reminding us what it's all about.
XO

Anonymous said...

Hiya CK...I agree it is not a day to say "happy" anything...but a day to remember and not forget...I have been visiting some sites today that honor the dogs who have served in the USA armed forces...very moving. So CK...I was awarded the Liebster Award by Texas a Cat in New York. The only protocol is that I pass it forward to 5 other blogs...who have less than 200 followers and as I could not tell how many you have...I gave it to you. If you go to my Monday blog Post you can see your name and the instructions. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you stopping by my blog. paw pats, savannah

Cats of Wildcat Woods said...

Great post. When I was a child my family always took me to the cemetery first thing on memorial Day to plant flowers and to visit the graves of vets and other family. It was a day to pause in remembrance.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

The Human's godfather, her mom's youngest brother Dickie, went MIA in Korea in 1951. He had a wife, and an infant daughter he never got to hold. Although she of course knew the odds, the Human's mother never quite entirely gave up hope. She died in 1983 and the Human likes to think they had a joyful reunion in heaven.

The Human's dad served two long tours in the South Pacific and then was sent to occupy Nagasaki for several months after The Bomb was dropped. But he was a lucky man--he did come home with malaria that recurred several times, but he was otherwise physically and mentally healthy and lived a terrific life.

But lots of good people do NOT come home, or come home with lasting scars, and we need to keep them front and center not just today but every day. XOXOXO

The Cat From Hell said...

Dear CK a marvelous post! Thanks for sharing your connections.
Kisses
Nellie