Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day was just another day

I was going to do a post for Memorial Day but our internet out here has been acting up so here I am a day late and a dollar short.

Back in the states, Memorial Day weekend meant a 96 (4 day weekend) where everybody would either head out of town and have a good time someplace with their friends and family, good times to be had for all. Being in the military, one of our defense mechanisms for dealing with death is not to think about it until it strikes. It's human nature for people to suppress bad emotions unless it strikes close to home. Most of us rarely think about the meaning behind national holidays including this one, it's just cool to have the extra time off and be someplace where we can enjoy it.

Memorial Day in Iraq is a little different, we don't get any time off and there are a few services around the base. For a majority of people it's just another workday, chows a little better and they put nice table cloths on the tables. But there's no beach to hang out at, no family to see and definitely no beer. Just another day in Iraq.

Out here we work 24/7 with a day off a couple times during the trip, there is no real down time. One dusty day after another of following a schedule that shows little change. Sleep, shower, eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep and start over again. Maybe today you went to a brief service to pass a token gesture to those who have fallen before you then it's back to the schedule. That is if you're lucky, that's all you did on Memorial Day.

I you were not lucky, you know buddies who died in the prime of his or her life, sometimes right next to you. Their book was ended before its time by an enemy who has no face and shows little value for human life. That person has given this holiday great meaning for you and you're probably not going to forget them for the rest of your life. You have cried countless tears into your pillow where no one could see and at service of your comrades, the tears have rolled silently down your face. You don't need a holiday to remind you.

Sometimes we forget the meaning behind this holiday but just maybe, we're just lucky that we didn't have someone to remind us.

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