There is a time to agree and there is a time to disagree. I’ve certainly disagreed with Bruce Apar’s column from time to time, but this is not one of them. I enjoyed reading his recent column on Memorial Day on the traditional Memorial Day (“Long live Memorial Day,” May 25). I thought I was the only person left on Earth that vehemently disagrees with the changes Congress gave us 46 years ago (was it really that long ago?). They didn’t share my values of what is important in our history and how it affects us today. They threw out respect for the the fallen soldier and the sailor and the airman for another three-day vacation. What kind of values do you have when you arrange the day for partying instead of a day of respect for the thousands and thousands of dead who gave all for their country? These are the men and women that gave us the ability to relax in our backyards and barbecue instead of living in fear in a concentration camp or at forced labor or in forced military duty by an occupying power.
Perhaps our Congress was never in the military and they never knew what it was like to be guarding a bridge and have the fear in the pit of your stomach when you see the British infantry, 200 strong, in line formation, in bright red tunics with white cross straps carrying their Brown Bess muskets in front of them with polished bayonets sticking five feet in the air above their heads. Or be standing in mud in a trench with a gas mask on for two days without sleep watching for the next order to climb out and attack machine guns. Or be in Pearl Harbor at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, standing on the deck of your ship wondering what breakfast will be. Or be in defense positions in freezing weather on a hill in Korea hoping the next attack by the Chinese and Koreans won’t be so massive that they over run you and kill all of you. Or be in a jungle at night in the rain wet through and through listening for the slightest sound of an advancing enemy.
I don’t know if anyone else, particularity youth, cares about what happened so long ago and what it means to us today, but I do. Maybe someone else out there will join me.
God bless America!
Newman B. Chittenden, LTC. Ord. C. USAR, Retired