November 12, 2005
(Slightly edited from the original version)
If this is to be our end, then I would make such an end as to be worthy of song and story.
Yesterday, I hauled myself down to the beach--tough duty, that--to chronicle Code Pink's latest effort at highlighting their concern for the US military on that most martial of days, Veteran's Day.
When Charles Johnson gave his myriad readers a heads-up on Code Pink's latest effort toward "supporting the troops" here in Southern California, I was all set to run down to the site, camera and self-righteousness in hand. After all, some of Code Pink's efforts at troop support have been misguided at best and horribly insensitive at worst, to understate the matter.
But I could only feel one thing when walking among the many crosses that were meticulously planted in the sand on Venice Beach: not sadness per se, but a sense of awe and reverence.
As someone who believes in eternal life, I found myself wondering what all of the military men and women were thinking as they surveyed the same scene that was in front of me. If you ask me, a lot defeat and futility went into the presentation: those who put so much effort into planning such a well-organized display were saying to those departed "your penultimate life's work was a tragedy and will mean nothing in the grand scheme of how the world will turn out." If I were one of those looking down (or up), I'd be shaking my head. Or laughing. Or I'd be PO'd. After all, who are these people that they can say that the fallen have died for nothing? Or that any war dead are needlessly dead?
As is the norm at these displays which purport to support the troops--the same troops whose voluntary action they are designating as fruitless--there was a continual reading of the names of each man and woman, their age and their hometown. At one point, my ears perked up and I heard one of the readers mention a name, then stop. The reader then looked up and pointed to the bright blue sky complementing the type of beautiful autumn day for which Southern California is renowned, and said something like this:
"One thing is for sure; this young man will never experience another beautiful day like this one."When he said that, I was struck by the fact that behind him stood hundreds of crosses and at least one Star of David. If he really believed his own word, really believed that the young man mentioned was dead--non-existent--forever, then what was up with all those symbols of unending life that were the display's main theme? Could it be :::gasp::: that the symbols of Christianity and Judaism were mere props? Well, it's not like that hasn't happened before.
Then again, I could be asking for too much too expect concepts to be consistent during such an exhibit. After all it's the over-arching point that counts; counts even more than the God that a goodly portion of these fine people don't believe in: war is always bad and always wrong and those who die perpetrating warfare waste their lives. No exceptions.
It just seems to me that the people who make up Code Pink want to stand for something before they do what we all have to do: die. It's their choice to take the easy road to the end, rather than the difficult one. Too bad that they would denigrate a divergent choice that others would make.
Enough babbling; here are the photos.
Here's the scene with me standing on the Santa Monica Pier facing northeast; crosses/Stars of David and coffins, obviously.
Each cross/Star of David was blank initially and it was up to the visitor to pick out a name from the list printed out from the FoxNews site--ironically--take one of the cards provided and rubber bands provided, write a name on the card and hang it on one of the symbols.
Here's a close up of the coffins.
You are now entering Arlington West.
The first exhibit on the left when one walked into the make-shift enrance of the display were two charts, one with the first one thousand troops who died in Iraq, the other featuring the second thousand.
On the left was a rather perfunctory chart featuring the Afghanistan casualty list.
The above chart seemed like an after-thought. I guess that the Afghanistan casualities don't have the propaganda vaue that their Iraq War brethren do.
This charming sign was just to the right (facing) of the Iraq War casualty charts.
This next display did tick me off: photos of grievously wounded soldiers.
I wonder whether Code Pink and company have implemented anything like Project Valour IT for these guys and girls. It would be the least they could do after using photos of their stumps, etc. to make their point.
Here's another photo that gives you an idea of how many crosses there were--and this is just on one side.
Here's a conglomerate of symbols that I'd imagine would ignite "holy" wars in a whole lot of places in this world.
I wonder whether it ever occured to any of these people that the "needlessly" dead GIs which they claim to support had defended their right to show such things without molestation. I doubt it.
I don't think that this people are bad, however. I simply think that they don't understand the mindset of most military persons, especially those whose specific reason for being puts them in mortal danger--Marines, for instance. Such people believe that they are helping the next Marine; such people never consider that there are persons that go into the war business with their eyes wide open, knowing that they might die, but living for the chance that they might make a difference, small or large.
But because that anti-war types can't understand such a mindset, they believe that warriors are stupid and/or duped. Either way, it is an insult; either supposition is evidence of a large amount of arrogance on the part of the anti-warriors.
And that is why most real warriors hate this sort of "tribute."
(Cross-posted at baldilocks)
UPDATE: Additionally, I took a drive over to the Los Angeles Memorial Veteran's Cemetary to pay my respects.
God bless them.
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