When I started thinking about what to write for today's column, I looked at what I'd written on previous Memorial Days. I don't think I can improve on what I wrote last year, so, with the hope that better circumstances will force me to write something new in 2011, here is my Memorial Day column from 2009...
This is the day we honor our American men and women who have died in military service. The first Memorial Day was for the Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. It now honors American casualties of all wars and military actions.
There will be speeches and parades. There will be visits to the local cemeteries where our fallen lay. At national cemeteries, volunteers will place flags at each soldier's grave. Flags will be flown halfmast until noon with a moment of remembrance at 3 in the afternoon. All these gestures are fitting and proper.
The best way to honor our war heroes is, as a nation, to live up to the sacrifices they made for us.
They died for their buddies next to them, for their families, and for America at its best. They sure as anything didn't die for politicians or political agendas, or for bloated corporations and equally bloated CEOs.
Some of those buddies, some of those buddies who died and some who lived because of the sacrifices of their buddies, were gay. It isn't even a matter of debate. It's fact. Gay men and women have served in our military, have served honorably in our military, and have died in the service of our country.
It's obscene that the United States of America, the nation by which all other nations are judged, does not allow gay Americans to serve openly in the military. Their blood and their lives, their commitment and their sacrifice, only differ from those of their fellow soldiers by dint of their being forced to deny who they are to serve. If not this Memorial Day then by the next, our President and our Congress must end the military's discrimination against gay Americans. We need their service and skills more than ever as we face enemies radically different from any enemies we have faced in the past.
They fought and died for their families. It's equally obscene that many members of those families have seen their jobs lost due to corporate greed, have seen their jobs leave our country and go overseas, have watched the architects of these deplorable practices earn enormous paychecks while their corporations crash and burn and ask for billions from the citizens they have failed.
They fought and died for our better angels. For the America that educates its children, works to ensure decent health care and housing and nutrition to its citizens, labors to treat all of our people with fairness and justice, does not demonize Americans for their race, religion, or sexuality, and certainly doesn't demonize them for media ratings or political gain.
Honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Honor them with the lowered flags and the parades and the speeches and, of course, with our prayers. And then...
Honor them every day by building and sustaining the kind of America for which they made the ultimate sacrifice.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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