If you are not in a beer and barbecue haze this weekend you may notice a few more flags out than usual. Yes, America’s semi-official beginning of summer is upon us with the return of a holiday that most Americans seem to forget the importance of. Some ignore it altogether, thinking it a nice excuse for a picnic, party and three-day weekend. Others confuse it, or combine it with Veterans day. This happens when that holiday rolls around as well. The real confusion though, is about who celebrates this holiday.
You don’t see much of it directly, but there are always thinly veiled suggestions that somehow this is a “conservative” holiday. I can see how someone might believe that. There are a handful liberals are uncomfortable talking about the military in a positive light at all. There are others that believe that, while they respect the military and those who serve, openly admitting it is somehow condoning a hawkish mentality. Then there is the majority of us, that despite appreciating the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, and not feeling a disconnect between doing so and wanting a world without war (after all, we wouldn’t need them to sacrifice everything for us any more) let a relative handful of loud mouths on the other side of the political fence shout us down.
There will be some who will say I should not play politics with a holiday like this. They, of course, ignore the fact that many conservatives do. They take advantage of our pride in, and appreciation for, these men and women to beat the war drums further. They get a little louder with suggesting that questioning a war is somehow questioning the validity of a soldier’s sacrifice. Well, it is not. A soldier, or sailor, never lays down their life “for nothing.” They do so out of a sense of obligation to the rest of us. Calling out those that would put them in harm’s way for their own ends is honoring them, not disparaging them.
So, as a proud and defiant lefty, I would like to express my gratitude to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country, so that I might be free to challenge those with power. Your life was not lost in vain.