May Editorial Winner

Memorial Day; Untouchable by Politics
By Zeke Lay, Choctaw Times

Memorial Day; a holiday for heroes. What could be more appropriate? There is actually some disagreement on when it started but I think we can righteously say that these arguments don't matter. As long as a country honors its heroes, it has a chance. Hail our victorious dead. As we also hail all those that perpetuate the true meaning of Memorial Day.

It is impossible to keep politics out of war. A sad reality since the battlefield is the crucible of all crucibles, pure in its own, and that purity is above and beyond; untouchable by politics. Whether we have Hanoi Jane or Hanoi Hillary, those that go to war do so for America and their fellow soldier. We, through parenting and hopefully a revival of true history being rediscovered in our schools, must perform our own vital duty; we must never forget.

The last of the Greatest Generation, an epithet most appropriate, are sailing off to their own private destiny. I visited Wiley Post Airport to fly in a B-17 a couple of years back; Dad had flown them some and I wanted the experience. There I met a 96 year old pilot, he seemed happy to let me kneel beside his wheelchair and pepper him with questions. Lucid and clear, many of my questions were answered honestly 'that was so long ago, it all runs together'. We must pledge to never let it 'run together' on us as a nation.

So what made them the Greatest Generation? There are many arguments to be made that our Korean and Vietnam Veterans deserve at least the same appellation. I think the answer is three-fold; the first two are simple; they answered the call. And as humans we like superlatives, it gives us a handy place to say 'here' is the ultimate marker. The last reason is more complex. The Greatest Generation set a standard; they saved the world from the vilest of the vile that, if left unopposed would have changed human history for the worst.

And there, in this deep distinction, we must see how the following wars, less clear, less supported, were fought by men and women living in the shadows of this greatness. While their actions measured up in full, the results of the wars didn't. Because of politics. The Korean War is called 'The Forgotten War', but the battles, especially the Chosen Reservoir placed their actions squarely equal to anything of WW II. Afterward, President Truman, ill prepared to handle the shock of the Soviet Union with atomic weapons, declared America would be the de-facto repellant for all things communist.

And so our military outlook changed. We now had to build up a military during peacetime; something America had never done before. WW II was largely funded by Americans; $186 billion of war bonds, almost three quarters of the total war-time spending, were bought by everyday Americans. The same Americans that are now considered 'flyover country' full of deplorables by elitist who infest our government. It is they who are responsible for dividing America and refused to honor our returning Vietnam veterans; heroes in their own right who performed their duties in a thousand ways equal to anything the Greatest Generation mustered. We must refuse these elitists who would revise history in their image; pick our own heroes and encourage our schools to return to teaching true history.

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