We have been decorating the graves of our war dead for the past one hundred thirty-nine years. We are about to put flowers on the thousandth American grave since the last Memorial day. As a nation we continue to struggle with the challenge of supporting our troops while maintaining our particular stance on the war on terror. We seem to have learned at least one lesson from our experience with Viet Nam. Or have we?
From the new introduction of "Born on the Fourth of July" by Ron Kovic: "I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding. So many similarities, so many things said that remind me of that war thirty years ago which left me paralyzed for the rest of my life. Refusing to learn from our experiences in Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception, distortion, manipulation, and denial, doing everything it can to hide from the American people their true intentions and agenda in Iraq. The flag-draped caskets of our dead begin their long and sorrowful journeys home hidden from public view, while the Iraqi casualties are not even considered worth counting--some estimate as many as 100,000 have been killed so far."
How do we honor the memory of those who have served our country, and fought to maintain our freedoms? I would suggest that each of us must continue to exercise those very rights and privileges - including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.