Today is Memorial Day and this afternoon people across the country will be having cook outs, going boating or simply enjoying a day away from the grind of employment. Many Americans will be going to prayer services and memorial events to remember those who have fallen in defense of our nation.
Me, I am somewhere in between. I have served as have many family and friends. The military gave me a strength of purpose and a belief in myself that prior to my enlistment was shaky at best. However, I am hesitant to remember my time in the service. Veteran's Day and Memorial Day are rough as they remind me of a time that is sometimes better and easier to forget. That was a time full of an innocent hope and promise. That hope and promise were tarnished by the actions of one man in a barracks room on Camp LeJeune.
Having had military sexual assault in the headlines has been hard for me lately. It is great to see that FINALLY it is being addressed but the asinine, ignorant and arrogant comments have been tough to endure. On discussion boards after articles on sexual assault, people posting, mainly men, have said everything from "Women don't belong in the military anyway....If they were not there it (sexual assault) would not happen." to "All humans are animals and men are programmed to procreate." WTF. I have served and have an honorable discharge to prove my service. My enlistment was not an automatic approval to be disrespected or assaulted for my gender. The amount of disrespect to women and outright dismissal of sexual assault on those boards turns my stomach.
Additionally, there are dismissive comments by vets and non vets alike about "liberal bias" and the "liberal agenda". Sexual assault has nothing to do with politics. Assault is about one person exerting his or her dominance over another. I am sure politics do not impact who a rapist decides to assault. Somehow there is always one person who has to play politics and spout anger when it simply does not apply.
I will continue to follow the news on sexual assault in the military and educate when possible. It sad that it mars what should be days of reflection and acknowledgment of service.
So today I will remember and honor those who have died in the many wars our nation has fought. They have been men and women of many ages who have in times of crises stepped up and done what many could not or were unwilling to accomplish. May they not have given their lives in vain. May we, as a nation come together to honor all who have served.