I don't do abstract really well on Memorial Day, or Veterans' Day, or any other day when I remember the brothers and sisters who put boots on the ground wherever they are sent. Part of the reason I feel so passionately about the need to examine, criticize, and debate American military policy, and part of the reason that I have become increasingly non-interventionist in my foreign policy views is that the lives of these American citizens are important.
Even those who never actually fired a shot in anger, but spent the long years training, the long nights awake and shivering, doing the things that needed to be done that nobody else wanted to do....
On Memorial Day I will remember three soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard who are no longer with us. One reader stopping by here will recognize at least two of the names; to pretty much everybody else they will remain just that ... names without stories attached.
I could tell the stories. I could make my evocation of them live for a few seconds in your mind, but they were each worth far more than my memories, as is every man or woman who has worn my country's uniform, no matter how that service turned out: the heroes and the cowards, the tacticians and the technicians...
So I will just leave their names as I knew them:
Sp4 "Duke" Johnson
SFC W. Lee Smith III
Col Jim Harmon