Sunday, May 27, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY IS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE




The post below appeared on Rebecca Treadway's blog last year. The first part is hers; the second part is mine. This year I'm putting it here. It is just as timely today. Thank you Rebecca for sharing this with me!

It's not a "Holiday"

          There are three days on the U.S. Calendar that I pretty much consider offensive. I keep it to myself, as it gets tiring when someone tells me "Happy Thanksgiving" and I sometimes reply "Happy Thankstaking" back. Same with Independence Day. If you know American history and the way this country really was "founded" you'd be thankful for every day. At any rate. This past weekend, people have been throwing around "Happy Memorial Day" to me like it's something to be happy about.  It's not a "Holiday" - it's a day of remembrance.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I live in America and enjoy the relative freedom this country provides and the liberties I don't take for granted. I simply don't wait for a Holiday in the real world in which to give thanks. This is related to writing, believe it or not. My work in progress features people I know in my own area, "character models" who are Veterans of the Vietnam War. 
     Some are homeless, some are still shell-shocked (now called PTSD) and though the novel is a supernatural tale, the horrors of War are not fiction nor a "Holiday" I use as a reason to say Happy Day to some one and go to barbecue.
      I recently became acquainted with someone who I asked to act as an extra pair of eyes to beta read my WIP. He is also a Vietnam Vet.  My post today is a guest post to honor the fallen, and as a remembrance to those who served and still serve. 
That guest is fellow Indie Horror writer Blaze McRob



Memorial day is here, along with everything that it entails. No, I’m not talking about the picnics, trips to the mountains to do some fishing or whatever. I’m talking about the reasons the holiday was established.
     Okay, I should straighten this out now: I don’t believe Memorial day is a holiday. It’s a day of remembrance for those who suffered during war; for those who didn’t return. How the hell do you make a holiday out of death? You don’t.
     Every year I go to the cemetery and see tears flowing, vets who can hardly walk, and some with missing limbs. Others have no apparent physical ailments, but one look at their faces tells you a story of inner personal strife: demons trapped inside with no release in sight. They’re remembering; they’re not celebrating.
     So what do we do? Do we allow the festering inside to cause us to rot away?

         I’m a vet. I served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. There was much I saw, much I experienced, much that is beyond comprehension. It was fucking war! You know what? Wars aren’t nice. Wars suck!  As if that wasn’t bad enough, I came back to the states to a country gone mad: long- haired hippies with their signs saying we were baby killers and other shit. Peace signs were everywhere, but these so-called flower children saw fit to attack us with their signs. Some of those who were attacked hobbled along on crutches with only one leg. Others were in wheelchairs. Nice people, these hippies. Okay, I wasn’t in great shape myself, but I was damned if I was going to put up with that shit. I put a number of them down with their own signs before the MPs and cops stopped it all.

     Present day, the country has changed their opinions about the war over there. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all; maybe we should have been shown some respect. Yeah, make it easier for us to get treated for things at the VA. PTSD is bandied about like these snot-nosed kid doctors in mental health hold all the answers. Put us all on drugs to mellow us out, help us forget about the war. Shut us up.

     Number one: it’s too late for people my age who didn’t serve to say they are sorry for what happened. Forty years ago was the right time. Not now. It’s like they’re offering us a gift that we should thank them profusely for. What?! They need the medication I threw away. While we endured what we did, they went to college and prepared themselves for a life of wealth and greed. Now the small peace offering arrives to assuage their guilt. Let them be guilty. I want nothing to do with cowards or false “friends.”

     Number two: I don’t want to forget. I want to remember every moment of it. Why do I want to remember the pain and horror? It’s a part of who I am and why I am. We learn from the past. Everything, bad and good, parades before us, warning us that moments are so easy to be recaptured in the worst of ways. A lot of the new crop of politicos on the scene have no knowledge of war. They never experienced any of the traumas associated with it, nor were they given a chance to rise up from the worst of the worst and become a real man or a real woman. In fact, so many schools nowadays are downplaying the teaching of history in schools so that our children will not learn the truth except from those who were there.

     I now bring horror into the horror. Blaze writes horror tales. Guess what? My horror is not all fiction. My soul screams for me to tell the world of true terrors lurking in the real world. And so I do. However, I don’t want to write a story about what happened to Blaze when he served. 
     Yes, there will be some juicy little tidbits scattered around: rats running over bodies half submerged in rice-paddies; bamboo shoots stuck up body orifices never designed for such attacks; dirt floors of single dwelling shacks in prison camps, covered with crawling vermin attracted to the hole in the corner which passes for hygienic toilet facilities. I think you get the picture. These goodies are to be shared with one’s readers in such a way that maybe they think these things actually happened or maybe they didn’t. Personal perception. Carole Gill says the worst horror is non-fiction, and she is so right.

     By instilling these truths into the fa├žade of horror, we say what is without actually saying it is. A paradox of words, dealing with the mind in such a way as to instill truths and fears within the guise of story telling. We awaken minds, making them receptive to our message. In my way of thinking, we are presenting an honest subliminal message to our dear readers.
     We allow the reader to wonder what if? Yes, maybe it’s horror, but that doesn’t mean it’s all about gore and violence. The novel “1984” is a great example of this. I know I always pondered the possibilities.     
     The novel I just finished and am editing before I send it to Vamplit contains scenes of war, as well as other real-life health issues and betrayal I experienced in the past. Is this cheating, digging up moments from my life? I don’t really care. These are my moments; they belong to me; if they are altered to fit the story, so what! I’m writing fiction. Life is grand.     
     
We all fight our battles in different ways. I cleanse my soul with the release of my inner demons within the tales I write. Why should I write about fun-filled ditties? Isn’t it better to get rid of the bad and keep the good within.
      Memorial Day. Don’t pity us vets. Respect us for what we did. If you can’t do that then leave us alone: we don’t need you; we don’t want you.
                              ###



On Memorial Day take some time out today and give our Warriors, past, present and future a moment of silence.
That includes your Twitter!









2 comments:

  1. I am so honored to have you as a friend, Blaze. Thank you and all military folks for their service.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Cindy! I sure know how far Military Tradition runs in your family! I thank your Dad, Daughter and everyone else!

    Blaze

    ReplyDelete

We love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment!