A soldier is advancing upon an enemy fortification and is cut down by machine gun fire. His abdomen has been ripped open by the stream of bullets fired by the enemy. He lies in the mud in agonizing pain desperately trying to push his intestines back inside his body. His buddy comes to his aid and screams medic over the perverse orchestra of battle. A medic crawls to the wounded soldier under withering machine gun and rifle fire in a desperate attempt to stabilize the critically wounded soldier. The medic applies a field dressing to the horrific wound and dampens the bandage from his own canteen in an attempt to keep the wounded soldier’s exposed intestine from drying out. He injects the wounded man with a morphine syringe and writes the date and time on his forehead with a permanent marker. The medic moves off once again reponding to someone screaming Medic!
The wounded soldier’s buddy has advanced on the machine gun nest by leaps and bounds to get within range to toss a hand grenade. The young soldier tosses the grenade directly into the machine gun pit silencing the weapon. Other soldiers advance on the enemy fortification and drive off the remaining enemy. The young soldier returns to his wounded friend to find him clutching a photo of his wife and son. He died alone in the mud of some distant foreign land.
We, the people have not honored the sacrifices so many brave Americans have made in defense of this nation and our way of life. We have failed in our responsibility to passionately defend our rights and freedoms here at home while others have suffered and died defending them in far off lands. We are responsible for the sad and pathetic state of our political process and our government. We lost our passion for liberty and equality while we allowed ourselves to be distracted by the pursuit of accumulated wealth, material goods and reality television.
Other enemies of democracy seized upon this opportunity to manipulate and corrupt our political process and our federal government through political campaign financing, dictating specific legislation, opposing necessary regulation and when necessary outright bribery and character assassination. They went further to ensure their tyranny would endure. They manipulated the appointment of Supreme Court Justices to ensure their campaign of arrogance, indifference and greed would not be undone.
We neglected and betrayed the gift of liberty bestowed upon us by the sacrifices and suffering of so many Americans, who came before us. We forfeited our children’s future as Americans for the illusion of prosperity. While we toiled to accumulate stocks, all manner of material goods and access to mind-numbing entertainment, we allowed our most precious possession, our freedom, our liberty, our future as Americans to slip through our grasp for bobbles and trinkets truly of little lasting value.
We should have known better. Did not the Native Americans naively trade away their lands and their freedom to unscrupulous men, who signed treaty after treaty with Native Americans, who were attempting to save their nations and their way of life? We have failed to learn from our own history and we have condemned ourselves to repeat it.
What will we say to the son of the brave soldier who died in the mud now that he no longer has the same rights and liberties that his father died fighting to preserve and defend? This Memorial Day, look upon the neat rows of grave markers in our nation’s National Cemeteries and ask yourself if we are honoring their selfless sacrifices. Did we betray them and condemn their children to a life with less freedom and equality? Did our complacency and desire to fit in and keep up with the Jones distract us from our duty as Americans to passionately defend and expand our liberties and equality? Is it too late? Will we be forced onto reservations in desolate corners of this nation so the politically savvy will not have to endure our unwelcome presence? Did that young soldier and so many thousands of others die in vain?
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