Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day is a public communication and remembrance, but it is a strange day in its own way. We remember soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who were on the front lines. We tend to forget that most military personnel were not fighting. The support-to-warrior ratio was something like 15:1 when I served. I had a cushy job in the Army and saw no action. I spent time in a war zone but there were no battles. As a result, Memorial Day doesn't apply to the likes of me. My only satisfaction in retrospect is that I entered the military and did my job when hundreds of thousands like me did not. They got deferments. It is amusing to see as we get older that some people wish today that they had served their country. Others are more confirmed than ever in their anti-war opinions. Choices of 40 years past still have a way of informing character. From a communications perspective, past action or inaction cannot be divorced from present. Biography informs the message. I hope your Memorial Day is pleasant.
Thanks for this Jim. I appreciate your candor and nuanced perspective. But at the end of the day you served and that's truly commendable even if you didn't see battle. You, along with your non-combatant peers, made it possible for others to fight on the front lines. Without the support-to-warrior ratio you cite our military forces would never prevail and they would suffer far greater casualties. On this day, of all days, we should be thankful to you and all who served and serve in the military. And we should be humbled in remembering all those who fell in the pursuit of freedom even when that pursuit has been and is sullied by political expediency and misguided foreign policy. I cringe a little at the thought but it seems abundantly clear to me that we need a strong military and often have to go to war in order to preserve life and liberty not only for our own but for billions of other people in the world.