Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

It always seems weird to wish someone a Happy Memorial Day.

Looking back, I'm proud of my military service.

And especially proud to have been a part of MASH for four years.   One thing we always did on that show was pay tribute to the brave men and women who served -- most of them not voluntarily.   They sacrificed for the good of the country -- many making the ultimate sacrifice.

As time marches on, the Korean conflict is becoming more and more just a blip, a brief footnote in history.   I honestly think that without MASH it would today be largely forgotten.  So to m, that's the show's greatest legacy -- to keep alive the memory of that conflict and honor those who served. 

And to all the people who served in Desert Storm and Vietnam and all the other wars/police actions/whatever -- let's not forget a single one, ever. 

I salute you one and all. 


John Hammes said...

Agree about M*A*S*H - reminding all what should never be forgotten ( Korea and elsewhere... and there have been too many elsewheres ).

Wishing someone "a safe and reflective Memorial Day Weekend", or "safe travels this Memorial Day Weekend", or some variation of these greetings, has always proven sufficient.

VP81955 said...

Whether or not you agreed with the policies that sent these men and women into conflict, remember the price they paid for it, and salute their service.

Mike Doran said...

I'm keeping an eye out for when you eventually do a column-long takeout on our current President.
Note that I'm saying when, not if.
Because Mr. Trump is that kind of guy: he brings out the worst in everybody - friend and foe alike.
And the longer he stays in office, the worse it's going to get.
Our Armed Forces - past, present, and future - deserve far better than this man.

So I'm waiting … and I'm not looking forward to it.

Honor our Forces on Memorial Day by giving them a head of state that they don't have to apologize for.

Jeff Maxwell said...

During the Viet Nam years, my comedy partner and I had the opportunity to work for the USO performing for troops in Korea, etc. I began the journey with a bit of an attitude, but quickly learned I was an ass.

We performed on US bases to hundreds of military personnel, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Yeah, we were funny, but there was a different sound to the laughs than at home; it sounded like appreciation.

We were also asked to perform or just say hi to patients in the wards of various hospitals. Everyone in those beds were young soldiers injured in Viet Nam. To see first hand the gravity of war and its impact on those incredible young folks almost dropped me to my knees. Without doubt, it was the most sobering moment of my life. From bed to bed, we did what we could to bring some laughs. And we did. And they all sounded like appreciation, too. On this Memorial Day, I think about those patients, and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to just tell them a joke.

Regardless of our politics, we can never ever be appreciative enough for the dedication and sacrifice of everyone in uniform.

Thankfully, I grew out of my ass.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

So many fought and died to uphold the principles of our constitution which is now under attack from within.

- U.S. Navy sailor

Michael said...

"Happy Memorial Day" is incorrect because today honors those who died. Veterans Day honors those who served, so a Happy Veterans Day would be in order.

That concludes today's pedantry.

tavm said...

I just watched The Fighting Sullivans about five brothers who died on a Navy vessel during World War II. It started with their birth, went to their pre-teen years, then young adulthood where the emphasis is on the youngest, Al, who seemed to be the only one to marry and have a child. So his death is especially tragic of all those siblings...

Pat Reeder said...

I second the Memorial Day thoughts, and could we please let this be one post that isn't polluted with personal political diatribes?

I'm also glad to hear more people recently trying to remind people of Korea. I don't know if I ever mentioned this to you, but my late father was an Army Sergeant in the Photo Corps during the Korean War. I have some great photos of him in the camps with his camera. He was drafted right out of high school and given that job because he was already a talented photographer.

He used to say that his job was to fly over the enemy in a helicopter and shoot at them with a camera while they shot back at him with guns. He would then hurry back to camp, develop the film in a stream, and have reconnaissance photos of the enemy positions. He was the living precursor of Google Earth.

One time, Life magazine did a photo story on the brave men of the Photo Corps, and he kept a copy. The major photo showed a couple of his superior officers standing over his equipment and pointing at it. He said neither one of them knew which end of a camera to point, but they made sure they were the ones whose faces got into Life instead of the people like him who actually did the dangerous and difficult job. A good early lesson for me about believing in the media, the government or human nature in general.

He always watched "M*A*S*H" and would comment on things that he thought were more or less accurate. I remember him being particularly impressed with the outdoor scenes of the rocks, mountains and scrub brush. He said he didn't know where they filmed it, but it looked exactly like the wasteland where he spent most of his time. He occasionally remarked on how he had no idea why anyone would ever want to fight over the s***hole where he was stuck.

Even though he left the Army with honors and was very patriotic and pro-military in general, he hated being in the Army, which he looked at just as doing his duty. He had such bad memories of Korea that he wouldn't even allow Asian food in the house to remind him of it. I was in high school and going to restaurants on my own before I even tasted Chinese food. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever even having rice as a kid, in any form.

JestJake said...

Between MASH and the Rockford Files (mentioned frequently since both the character and Garner were vets of Korea)...

Let's ignore that piece of crap film, Heartbreak Ridge, which subsituted US Marines for what the US Army did (I was there) during Operation Urgent Fury, and their references to Korea.

E. Yarber said...

My uncle was at Heartbreak Ridge, and I made the mistake of sending him a couple of Clint Eastwood westerns as a get well present when he had surgery only to learn how he couldn't stand to see Eastwood in anything because of that film.

After his death, I learned that the shift from Army to Marines took place there because the Army refused to endorse the story based on the behavior of the Eastwood character, though I doubt my Purple Heart uncle would have had much sympathy.

E. Yarber said...

Before Rockford, there were a couple of episodes of THE FUGITIVE that established that Richard Kimble had been a Medic in Korea.

And my uncle was actually a MULTIPLE Purple Heart recipient. Some of his squad members told my dad incredible stories of the ways he kept them all alive. I avoided talking politics with him because I was afraid we'd argue, but in the last couple years of his life we were finally able to share our left-wing views with each other.

MikeN said...

I never understood why the reaction to the Korean War and Vietnam War were so vastly different.

Mike Doran said...

The difference between Korea and Vietnam:

The Calendar.

Korea was the Fifties: the Red Menace, Eastern Europe In Chains, Stop the Commies by any means available, Defend Church and State against Godless Joe Stalin, news coverage on many days delay… that sort of thing.

Vietnam was late Sixties/early Seventies: The New Left gave us the New Dissent, the New Right gave us the Newer Reactionaryism, News coverage became more immediate, and so on.

It all gets quite a bit more complicated from there, but there was the genesis.
To oversimplify: The more we learned about geo-political warfare, the less enamored we became of it.
As to the present and future:
You can fill that in however you like …