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As this Memorial Day passes, in the year of two thousand and thirteen, let us take away a contemplation which honors the message of those who passed, and not simply remembers. Over one million souls lost in our history and as you’ve heard this weekend many times we hope, “ They died for our freedom.” True, but not the whole truth.
Please allow me to frame this by taking you back to the days of my youth, where I witnessed the strange horror of Vietnam on the evening news, and soon thereafter the televised impeachment of our Commander-in-Chief. Interesting lessons that an immigrant’s son took to heart, ( my folks came here in the 50’s as refugees from communism) but which I must say to you today, have largely gone unheeded by our fellow Americans.
The lesson of Vietnam, and I submit to you, this is the Great Lesson, was not apparent to me in my youth. Yet, what I saw daily were signs of the American rebel, alive and well, both marching in the streets, declaring their opposition to the war and in the jungles of Vietnam. I found this, as many may today, more than disquieting. The demonstrators I likely deemed unpatriotic in my simple-minded youth.
So beyond this Memorial Day, I ask you also to consider the potential message of those American soldiers in Vietnam as well as their American rebel brothers pitted against them in our city streets.
My question to you, my fellow American, is what lesson did we as a Nation learn by sacrificing 50,000 plus of our strong young men? And please, to honor them completely, what of the 50,000 more that succumbed to suicide after the war? 100,000 souls of our Nation’s future were forfeited. 100,000 souls! What was the lesson? What should we have learned?
Those 100,000 brave and glorious souls, who were literally spat on and called baby killers upon their return home, gave us something of exceptional value which we quickly squandered, buried and forgot about. The point of this is to illuminate a potential sin against the souls of them all. Pay homage to what they gave us. A gift we, and our Republic, need now more than ever.
Vietnam Veterans gave us the right and the DUTY to question authority government. To stand up and say NO when injustice and raw self-interest get in the way of the natural progression of Freedom. They gave their lives for our freedom yes, but also as a sign to not lay down and take it for granted (else another 100,000+ may have to sacrifice again!) To not believe what Uncle Sam tells us without first putting it through our own mind’s logical grist mill. To ensure the press stays free and objective to aid us in discovery. TO STAND AND FIGHT when our rebel souls are awoken by the wrongs we see and feel. And to stand and fight, TOGETHER, as past American rebels working hand in hand have done, often succeeding against insurmountable odds.
And if you couldn’t “see” that at the time, which this kid could not, you had the second sign delivered for your illumination. During the winding down of the war, and with the backlash against our soldiers ( it wasn’t their fault! ) hitting a crescendo, our Nation’s President was being impeached for odd paranoid behaviors unbefitting an American leader. (Certainly not a rebel!) All of this was on the TV, a really big deal in the early 1970’s. As the song of the same vintage says, “Signs, signs, everywhere are signs. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the signs?”.
Maybe not in the moment and certainly not sustainably. With those 100,000 American souls was also buried the collective spirit of the American Rebel. The rebel who stands and fights when her ideals are compromised. The rebel who values true freedom, destroys the shackles of slavery, both real and virtual, and recognizes the slavery of dependence which governments,including Uncle Sam at times, like to breed. The Rebel questions authority as her DUTY, not simply a right. Those 100,000 souls beg not only for the return of the Rebel, but also that our Rebels be blind to race, gender, or even personal belief, but selflessly assemble again in honor of our ancient ideals which further the progression of freedoms for all.
Could be that the experience of the 60’s and early 70’s hurt our Nation so deeply that we chose to forget it as quickly as possible, and heal ourselves by losing our ideals, our “rebel”. Did we try and forget the pain by focusing on simpler, more selfish things like money and possessions? Was it the beginning of the grand sell out which still permeates our society? “ Never Forgotten” on the POW/MIA flag doesn’t simply mean their souls, but also the ideals they fought and died for. NEVER FORGET! Where is the monument to the ideals we have also seemingly lost?
And what of our original American rebels? What of those farmers and shop keeps, only one third of which had gunpowder and lead for their flintlocks when they took on the biggest, most powerful military in the world AND WON! The American rebel is an OWNER of the concept of guerilla war and partisan fighters in modern recorded history. It is our birthright!
You yourself may find other lessons by viewing our past through a different set of eyes, through the eyes of the American rebel, in all the faces that form has taken throughout our history. This framing by Perspective to seek Truths is a tool of the modern Whig political philosophy. Please use it, to place yourselves in their shoes, to help understand the lessons that we must take forward with us as we craft our future. Promise to not only remember their names and their battles, but their message, whispered by the wind directly into our souls. Not through a radio, web or cable t.v. Direct. From the source to your mind. Your thoughts alone, but not at all alone.
As this Memorial Day passes ladies and gentlemen, we modern Whigs humbly submit a continuing takeawayfor your review: make something real out of something unreal. Honor the spirit and message of those 100,000 souls lost during Vietnam, and the 1,000,000 more in American history by seeing through their eyes, hearing their whispers and heeding their lessons.
“ Please listen to our whispers on the wind…..learn from us …Stop blindly trusting your leaders and always question their authority. We did not guarantee your Freedom, we helped earn it, yet your duty is to maintain it. Where are your rebels now? You need them now more than ever. Our Rebels never sell out! We died so your Rebel can live on and continue to protect your freedoms. Find that Rebel in each of yourselves. Everyone COME TOGETHER. Take our Nation back!”
Can you hear them now?
Modern Whig Party of America
I am catching up on the site from my neglectful history over the past several months. I would like to post and submit excerpts from your blog to our local paper, if possible, leaning forward to Veteran's Day. Would it be possible for me to draw something up and send it back to you for your review and approval sometime in the next few months? Your work on this is outstanding.
Sir, everything published here, by officers anyway including our peronsal blogs, is Whig copyright eligible, but our policy is YES, of course you may lift any material you feel will help illuminate others!
If you publish it under the Whig brand, we would very much like to review it to ensure its authenticity. If published under your name alone, no such procedure is neccesary.
"Its a free country" is oft heard. Hey, lets endeavor to make it even more so! I look forward to your take on this short essay, as I beleive it to be a very different and even profound view. And Loren, its not hard work as much as inspiration and "listening" very closely without the noise of our own egos or "politics" in the air that creates the clarity you see there. Not to sound queer about it, but its beyond "me" as this clarity came upon me at a most odd time.Sort of like four NCOs being inspired to rekindle the Whig brand as they sat and watched CNN between patrols "in country". Seemingly out of nowhere, a grain of it hits you, gets stuck under your skin, forcing you to deal with it and changing you forever.
Thank you for the well-written piece. As a service member of a voluntary US military, I can understand my need to meet my commitments, but with the draft in the Vietnam Conflict, there were many who were forced to engage in fighting they did not see as casus belli.
I am interested in your insights over why the US committed so fervently to communist containment? How would you correlate the US actions in Vietnam with current and possible future engagements? If a Modern Whig president was in office at that time, what do you believe would have been a proper response fitting with MW policy platforms?
I beleive a modern Whig president would be non-interventionist, yet very firm on defense. None of this send missles to Syria crap. He or she might also adopt a version of the Declaration of Independence as our foreign policy mission statement.