If You Happen To See This Pin, Snap To It And Render Your Respect To The Wearer

It’s called the Gold Star pin; it is an award that is given to family members of a veteran who was killed in action:

It turns out that most Americans don’t even recognize it or know what it means when they see it.

That’s a shame.  By which I mean a dishonorable shame.

An article titled, “Sacrifice Isn’t Shared” posted by PJMom (I’m just guessing she’s the mother of an Air Force Pararescue Jumper) makes my guts churn:

Gallup surveyed attitudes among military. What shocked me wasn’t veteran attitudes toward Obama, but the disparity of service among generations:

  • 75% of 80-89 year-old men served
  • 60% of 70-79 year-olds
  • 49% of 60-69 year-olds
  • 21% of 50-59 year-olds
  • 19% of 40-49 year-olds
  • 13% of 30-39 year-olds
  • 8% of 18-29 year-olds

The drop in service among Boomers marks the 60s cultural revolution more explicitly than anything else: who cares about serving thee when I can just serve me, me, me? It’s pretty obvious by the ever-dwindling percentage of veterans that boomers passed along their selfless mentality to their own progeny, no? Serve the country? How passé.

The 5,000 service members who have died in the wars of the past decade have wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. The impact ripples. But families tend to raise and shoulder the burden of service. Society at large doesn’t feel it, not with 8% of 18-29 year-olds serving in the military.

UPDATE: Via Hot Air, a tribute to the Greatest Generation who served and the pilots who donate time and resources to ensure the veterans see their memorial. If you want to be humbled, visit the WWII Memorial and watch the octogenarians awed by memories of long ago.

The thing that made me gasp was the sight of that diminishing table of military service.  There was a time when almost everyone had served their country; now almost nobody has.

It makes me just sick that so few have suffered so much for so long to stand up for the rest of us.  And when they are killed doing their duty on our behalf, we don’t even notice or care.

Look at that pin.  Memorize it.

Only those who have lost a spouse, mother, father, child or step-child to combat are authorized to wear that pin.

And if you are fortunate enough to come across someone wearing it, please stop that person and do your best to tell them from the bottom of your heart that you are thankful for that soldier, airman, sailor or Marine who gave what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” to their country.

No one should be more honored in America than those who gave their lives in defense of this nation and the families that mourn their loss.

It’s the least you can do to a family member who may be RIGHTLY wondering if this country was truly worth sacrificing for in the face of such shocking apathy.

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7 Responses to “If You Happen To See This Pin, Snap To It And Render Your Respect To The Wearer”

  1. pjMom Says:

    Thanks for the link and the post! My kids are young, but I am the wife of a SOF operator. Enjoying your blog and regular posting!

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    pjMom,

    Thank YOU, and God bless you and your husband for what you are doing for your country.

    Few people understand the nature of sacrifice of military wives (and most especially the wives of our special operations forces). Women who watch their men go off into hell holes – and then have to hold the home front together by themselves while worry for their husbands and for their families builds and builds – are true heroes too. And when you add the new realm of multiple deployments (because nobody else is serving!) it is a pressure cooker that just won’t stop.

    I’m a disabled veteran who served under Ronald Reagan myself. I remember Desert Storm/Gulf War One: I was in my final year of college, and with my disabilities there was NO WAY I could serve, but I felt like I should be there. Even if I could only drive a truck or something. I felt wrong for not being where the fighting was.

    The second Gulf War in 2003 was very different for me: I KNEW that there was nothing I could do; it was past my time and I had to trust your generation to step up and take my place.

    And boy did your generation ever step up!

    I am so proud of you and your husband. The only word that comes to me is “magnificent.” You’ve been magnificent.

    I’m sending up a prayer right now for your husband’s safe return and for your marriage and for your children’s well-being.

  3. HL Says:

    Thank you for this post, Michael. Very eye opening to say the least.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    HL,

    Yeah. Seeing that participation in the military just dwindle and dwindle away to nothing just makes me want to cry.

    But why should the “me” generation care?

  5. fozzynok Says:

    More people should know.. few really do. I’d rather they remain ignorant than pretend to care.

  6. fozzynok Says:

    I’ve gotten to the point where I’d just rather they stay ignorant. The American people have reached a level of self-importance and entitlement that, its just safer and less stressful to let them remain selfish and ignorant. Those who know, care.. those who don’t can rarely be made to care and then there are those who pretend to care to make themselves the center of the “care police” and tend to elbow even the gold star out of the way to make sure that they are seen as the most caring.. at the expense of those who have actually lost their loved one

  7. Michael Eden Says:

    fozzynok,

    You don’t say it, but I get the sense that you’ve lost a loved one to Iraq or Afghanistan. If so, I honor you for the loss of your honored warrior.

    That said, while I obviously grant you the right to express whatever you believe, on thinking about it I myself disagree with you (and I added the “myself” just to accentuate that this is MY OPINION as opposed to some “deeper truth”).

    Yeah, I agree that psuedo-sympathy is annoying and even offensive. I certainly agree with you on that front. When you’ve experienced the shock of a deep loss and somebody comes up and offers you hollow words just to make themselves appear to care, that’s not good. And I have no doubt that you are reacting to that.

    But the thing is that a lot of these people VOTE. And ignorant people vote ignorantly and idiotically for things that have real impact on people.

    Laura Ingraham put it this way talking about politicians who “pandered” to the right: “By all means, PANDER.” More importantly, Paul wrote in Philippians about evangelists who were preaching the gospel at least partly out of a motive to “compete” with Paul; and Paul said, “The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

    What I’m saying is that I want to see policies that truly help the families of warriors who have been killed in action or wounded in action. And that that kind of effort takes a sea-change as to how the American people truly feel about warriors and their familes. Yes, there’s kind of that “March of Dimes” thing where the kid with the huge leg braces and the giant crutches gets “pimped” in order to attain sympathy. And that isn’t pleasant. But sometimes that’s what it takes to turn around the apathy that would otherwise accrue.

    As a disabled veteran myself, I can say this: that being a warrior (which I use as accurate shorthand for soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors who have directly served in time of war) are in a very different situation than civilian workers. Let’s say your civilian employer puts you in a position where you’re likely to get injured and you DO get injured. You can sue and seek justice; the warrior can’t (soldiers can NOT sue the government no matter how depraved/indifferent the government was in that soldier’s injury or death). And to take that even further, the warrior is often put into a situation in which he or she WILL be put in harm’s way in a way that few (if ANY) civilian worker will ever be put it. And as a result of that, society has a FAR HIGHER DUTY to take care of warriors and their families than it does for ANY other member of society.

    This country during the last century made a “contract” with the warrior: you serve us in time of need, you put your life and limbs on the line for us, and we’ll take care of you and your family if anything happens to you.

    I want to see society come through on its duty in a more complete way. And I don’t doubt for a second that you do, too.

    May God bless our warriors and their families, and in particular may God bless the families of those warriors who have given their lives defending the freedom of the United States.

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