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The Carthage Press
  • PULSE: Memorial Day's meaning more complex with each war

  • On the last Monday of May each year, the country honors those who served in the military to protect America — men and women who returned and those who did not. And while most understand that is the true meaning of Memorial Day and not just an excuse to barbecue on a day off, it is becoming clear after battles in Afghani...
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  • On the last Monday of May each year, the country honors those who served in the military to protect America — men and women who returned and those who did not.
    And while most understand that is the true meaning of Memorial Day and not just an excuse to barbecue on a day off, it is becoming clear after battles in Afghanistan and Iraq that even those ideals have been muddied.
    Today, PULSE looks at how the separation between supporting a war and those who fight it — and the ramifications that follow — spill into this cherished holiday.
    A WAR THAT ISN'T THEIRS
    Recently I was a guest on a national television show, and the host expressed some indignation when I said that soldiers in Afghanistan don't much discuss the war they're fighting. The soldiers are mostly in their teens, I pointed out. Why would we expect them to evaluate U.S. foreign policy? The host had made the classic error of thinking that war belongs to the soldiers who fight it. That is a standard of accountability not applied to, say, oil-rig workers or police. The environment is collapsing and anti-crime measures can be deeply flawed, but we don't expect people in those fields to discuss national policy on their lunch breaks. READ MORE HERE
    REMEMBERING ALL TROOPS
    The observance of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Bureau of Colored Troops in the District of Columbia ccurred this week, only a few days before Memorial Day. It seems fitting that the sesquicentennial of the Colored Troops Bureau falls close to the day originally set aside to remember those killed in the Civil War. More than 180,000 African American soldiers and sailors served in the Union Army and Navy. Nearly 68,000 died. READ MORE HERE
    BAD BUSINESS ... OVERLOOKING VETS IN THE JOB MARKET
    Eye contact. That, and a firm handshake, gets you the job, right? But for a lot of veterans, that's the snag they hit in their civilian job search. They've stared down enemies, carried hundreds of pounds of gear in the desert sun, run complex computer programs and saved lives. Yet making eye contact with a superior is something that goes against everything that was ingrained in them during their years in the military. And it's just one of many things they have to unlearn to be able to function in the civilian business world. READ MORE HERE
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    SUPPORTING OUR VETS ... CAREFULLY
    Memorial Day evokes a jumble of emotions: pride in military service mingled with grief over the human toll exacted by war, and profound gratitude for whatever it is in the American character that inspires heroes in every generation to risk everything for the country they love more than life itself. Over the years their civilian brethren have expressed appreciation, however imperfectly, through their generous support of charities assisting veterans, especially those wounded in body or spirit. READ MORE HERE
    ONE PILOT'S REMEMBRANCES
    Harry Hink always wanted to be a pilot when he was growing up in Oklahoma. He just never envisioned flying over Japan in the last year of World War II, dodging kamikazes and drawing Japanese fighters from Hiroshima before the first atomic bomb was dropped. After flying 28 missions in the new B-29 bomber, including the 500-plane flyover above the USS Missouri at the treaty signing with Japan, Hink piloted 63 more missions during the Korean War. When he finally stopped flying, Hink settled his family in Annandale, Va., in 1960, and he still lives in Northern Virginia, surrounded by three children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. READ MORE HERE
     
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