Today is a national holiday, one we did not have in my time but should have had, "Memorial Day". I attest that it is difficult to celebrate a day of memory when I have no memories of all the events of the world happening from my time till now.
I'm getting better at using electronic devices to learn more about the world, they suffice much better than books in many cases, and so I have done for the last few months, to discover the history of this land over the years gone to time immemorial. It's a shame I was not here during those days of Civil War, or the great World Wars. These times of conflict and separation must have tried the very fiber of Americans past and present. I am triumphant in the Union that she still stands to this day, something I had never imagined.
Some wars, of the ones I have seen, seemed so just. Fighting against the agast Nazis and the Imperials of Japan, when I heard of these things in the history books I read, I could hardly believe it was the history of the World, or more to the point, the history of the Americans. It seemed so fantastic that a peoples could triumph over so great an evil, surely many thought it was the end of times, but we survived. The other conflicts, such as the days of internal division and Civil War, seem like so much pride, costing us the human flame of existance for many of our soldiers, young and old. This cost, greater than any hunger, thirst and cold, is the longstanding memory of war. Something worthy of a day of memories like today.
So it is that we engage yet still in other lands and exotic places. I am afraid I never knew of places like Grenada, Korea, Vietnam, or Iraq. I remember other wars, when we fought hard against the British to ensure our very existance, not thinking ahead to see what kind of wars would come in the future. We fought hoping there would be none. I remember the days after the Revolution, when we thought we were safe, the British invaded our new Federal city, burning down the Capitol and the President's House.
I never imagined we'd fight the Mexicans for the liberty of a whole countryside in the lands of Texas. I barely knew of that territory even existing. The country divided over Civil War, I can't help but think it was division that was hurtful to us all. Fighting the Spaniards and winning over the freedom of an island that became one of our most bitter neighbors? Such a victory must've been a proud, but unrewarding, moment. It is more than one man can really imagine, and I remorse having missed the valor of all these men.
Entire lives lived, wars among the whole world, and our country still stands as one Union. It's something that overwhelms your humblest servant to even consider.
Share in these memories, for they are something that should never be forgotten.
- TH. Jefferson
There isn't much to this TeeJ entry besides a brief look back at the history of American war. I'm not a pacifist, I believe war has it's purpose. The great World Wars, especially World War II, the Spanish-American War, the invasion of Afghanistan, the two Barbary Wars, all these things were wars I saw very fit for noble memories. The rest, such as the Vietnam War, the Korean war, the two Iraq wars, the Mexican-American war, and even the Civil War I have reservations against. Vietnam and Korea were both historical jokes, as they served no real protection of our securities. It's not our duty as a nation to protect places like Kuwait, and let's face it - if the invasion of Kuwait never happened then we wouldn't have had either Iraq War. If those situations are the litmus for all war, then we would never be at a state of peace.
On the other hand, many wars started with much clearer justification. When we attacked Japan and their ally, Germany, it was Japan who initiated the war with the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the unruly Barbary Coast Pirates and Al Qaeda who began two wars at different ends of our national history, one with the Northern African states, and the other with the Middle Eastern Afghanistan - both in response to nations which harbored violent forces that attacked us, both with the aims to retaliate against that kind of terroristic violence.
National security is important, and there have been times of history we've been disgraced and beaten down, but never did we fall, it's one of our few virtues. America is unique in having that kind of history with war, our only real war loss was in Vietnam, but we didn't lose anything there besides the many senseless American lives taken by the fighting.
What we still have is our liberty, pride has yet to cost us that much. In the end, if we lose our liberty, I doubt it will be war that will take it - I believe liberty is threatened most when we come to forget why we fought those wars. As the old Marine hymn goes, we went "from the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli" for something, and if Memorial Day means anything, it means we shouldn't forget why we did send those soldiers to fight in all parts of the world in every condition possible.
As Jefferson put it, may we spend "millions on defense, but not one cent on tribute" to those who would take our liberty from us.