The New York Times reprints a front-page article from 22 years ago, November 10, 1982:
President Reagan stopped by the National Cathedral to listen for a while to the reading of the names of the Vietnam war dead this evening… While the President journeyed to one part of the capital’s weeklong commemoration of the Vietnam dead, the continuous reading of their names in a candlelighted chapel at National Cathedral… hundreds of other Americans continued to arrive at the wall even after darkness fell tonight, the eve of Veterans Day. They bore the slow grief of the Vietnam time and indulged the simplest sort of human memorial, the act of touching stone, feeling the cold, stony texture of the engraved names of the dead that showed up by flashlight and in the wavering glow of matches struck in the dark…
Today, as we all know, mentioning the names of the war dead is part of a partisan “political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.” Rather than mentioning the brave soldiers by name, we should realize that it’s not the public’s duty or the media’s duty to honor the sacrifices of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, instead, it’s a duty which falls solely to the hugger-in-chief:
“There’s only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids on the death of their loved ones…Having committed the troops, I’ve got an additional responsibility to hug.” – December 2002
Amazing how he does that without ever attending a military funeral…
Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, the commemoration of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when the War to End All Wars came to a close. This war we are now engaged in, like all wars, is evil. The soldiers who are fighting this war are brave men and women and deserve our respect. The men and women who sent them there on false grounds deserve our disdain.
Listening to: Simple Minds | Glittering Prize | John Peel’s Festive Fifty – 1982