With Memorial Day behind us, we should reflect on how many Americans failed again this year to understand the purpose of the day. This year, that included The Post and writer Sebastian Junger [“Are we listening to our vets?,” Sunday Opinion, May 26].
Memorial Day is not about our soldiers in Afghanistan, as Junger suggested. Nor is it about the veterans who, wrote Junger, suffer “an epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) and high rates “of suicide, alcoholism, fatal car accidents and incarceration.” These are important topics, but discussing them on Memorial Day diminishes the meaning of the occasion.
Memorial Day is about our war dead.
We owe a debt to those who did not come home from our wars. As a poster at the Cambridge American Cemetery in England proclaims, “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.” These Americans did not live to become veterans. They don’t attend reunions. They don’t experience PTSD. They died fighting for us. They are forever young.
It diminishes their sacrifice to discuss veterans, instead of them, on Memorial Day. The Post should have picked Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to publish Junger’s commentary.
Robert F. Dorr, Oakton
The Post’s May 27 editorial “Memorial Day” was a tribute to all U.S. veterans who have sacrificed their lives. It also noted a growing appreciation in much of the country for and “a greater awareness of the trauma and lasting damage inflicted on many of those who survived the worst shocks of war.” How true and how sad.
Left unsaid was the failure of those responsible, including editorial enthusiasts for intervention, to give sufficient thought of the resultant trauma and lasting physical and psychological damage on our troops and their families of the decision to invade Iraq. May the nation and our future leaders never forget the tragic consequences of this failure.
Phil True, Glen Allen, Va.