Today is Veterans Day, and I’m pondering an answer to the question I asked yesterday: Why DID it take so long for a permanent memorial to American veterans who have been disabled for life?
I still want to hear your answer, but here’s mine:
Maybe we haven’t had a memorial for permanently disabled veterans because we’d rather not face the fact that we have so many disabled war veterans. I don’t mean everyone feels that way. But could it be a subconscious wish in the collective psyche? Permanently disabled veterans—missing limbs, blind, scarred, broken in body or spirit—can be a disturbing sight. They remind us of the price they paid for our freedom, a debt that no one can repay. They remind us of the wars that we may have gotten into for dubious reasons. They remind us that there’s no glory in war (something that my father, a WWII vet, repeatedly told us, and that I pass onto my son).
John Adams, our second president, had a message to us all. “Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”
And, we can never really know how much it has cost every generation that went to war—and maybe we would rather not be reminded of it. Maybe that’s why it has taken so long for The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which had its ceremonial groundbreaking yesterday. (Here’s a link to my original post on the memorial, which includes an interactive map of the site and a video tour as well.)