Memorial Day 2016

May 27, 2016

All Posts, Features

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day was not imagined to honor veterans, or patriotism, or politicians or the sorts of war heroes who appear in television commercials for the United Services Automobile Association or the Navy Federal Credit Union

To be alive on Memorial Day is an obligation – especially for veterans. Memorial Day is the brief moment before our golden summers when it is our sacred duty to consider how we came to be so lucky as to be here now in this increasingly flawed but still great and free country. Memorial Day is when we must remember the bodies.

This annual obligation to remember emerged spontaneously in both the North and the South in the spring of 1864 – about nine or ten months after Gettysburg, in the midst of the war that resulted when we took our principles so seriously that we went to war with ourselves. Women in both the States of America joined into groups to decorate the graves of the war’s dead. As many as 850,000 men died in the War Between the States. Four-hundred-seventy-six thousand men were wounded. One in 13 soldiers returned home missing at least one limb. All but four members of the student body of the University of Mississippi died. Most of them died at the same place at the same time, on the last day of Gettysburg, during a human wave attack called Pickett’s Charge.

Four hundred thousand men disappeared – into the earth – because there was no one to claim their rotting bodies. A few tens of thousands of German and Irish immigrants died of malaria against which they had no immunity. The immigrants died because other young men paid to have them fight and die for them. Fifty-one thousand men died at Gettysburg. One in five of the Yankees or Confederates deployed in that war died. Everyone knew someone who died, so the obligation to remember was hardly a duty at all.

Forty-five hundred Americans died in the American Revolution; 2,300  in the War of 1812; about 13,500 died in the Mexican War – the war that created the American Southwest; and another 2,500 died in the Spanish American War in Cuba and the Philippines. One-hundred-sixteen-thousand-five-hundred-sixteen died in the First World War and another 405,399 in the following World War – about one in every 40 deployments in both those wars. Thirty-six-thousand-five-hundred-seventy-four died in Korea;. Fifty-eight-thousand-two-hundred-nine died in Vietnam – about one in every 58 deployed. Three-hundred-eighty-three died in the Gulf War and 6,845 Americans have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The casualties for the war George W. Bush started amount to about one death for every 380 deployments which means that the longest war in American History is also a war in which our soldiers have been unlikely to know someone who actually died. That may be a mixed blessing.

If you have been in a war you understand that they are not at all as they are usually dramatized. They are much bigger and louder. They are muddy and your rifle jams. The food is bad and all the colonels are insane. And then some kid you know runs past engulfed in flames. They are all about as glorious as a hurricane. There is no wisdom to be gained from them.

The only wisdom to be gained is in recollecting the bodies. Memorial Day is when we are morally obliged to take a few moments to do that.

Enjoy your ride. Enjoy your barbecue. That is why they died. Try to remain handcuff free. That is also why they died.


41 Responses to “Memorial Day 2016”

  1. rollinnorth Says:

    “Civil War vet’s ashes on motorcycle ride across America to Maine

    SALEM, Oregon (AP) — Jewett Williams served in the 20th Maine Regiment in the Civil War. When he died in 1922 at an Oregon insane asylum, he was cremated and his ashes were stored and forgotten along with the remains of thousands of other patients.

    With a color guard in Civil War-era uniforms present, Oregon State Hospital officials handed over Williams’ ashes to a group of motorcycle-riding military veterans for a journey across the country to his home state.

    ‘He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father. At the end of his life, however, he was alone and institutionalized here,’ Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said at the ceremony. ‘When he died, nobody came. Nobody came to honor him. Nobody came to take him home. Nobody came. Until today.’

    Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that attends the funerals of U.S. military veterans, firefighters and police, then solemnly received the ashes, started their Harleys and began the long journey to Maine. Wearing leather vests festooned with patches describing their branches of service and American flags flapping from their bikes, the group will escort the remains in relays across America.”


  2. Steel Says:

    As a veteran, those that gave their lives so this nation could be free are owed the solemnity of the day that is Memorial Day. Veterans are remembered on 11 Nov. If history has shown us anything, it is that the fight to be free is a constant one because there are those power mad people that wish to conquer, dominate and control populations. Goes back as far as human history too. We remain free because there are those who were willing to fight and to die if necessary to ensure the security of this nation and there still are those that do this. Lest we forget.

    As for veterans, 11 November is the time to remember those who served in combat and returned and those who did nothing more than just stood watches.



  3. oldskewl Says:

    Base, thank you. I’m about to lose my daughter to the Air Force as well. I pushed for college over Military, I was strict about grades and always doing the right thing. They both just wanted to travel the world and if called upon, fight for our liberty and the rights of others.

    I’m a proud dad but having both kids gone is going to be a tough one.

    Thanks again,


  4. DocB Says:

    Thanks Rebel, nice piece

  5. Largeandy Says:

    Our current Pres does little to nothing to respect our men and women who have served….wants to “apologize” to Japan for Nagasaki and Hiroshima, has reinstated normal trading with North Vietnam…does little or nothing to help Vets with massive problems at the VA. This sorry liberal asshole who is our so called leader needs to watch old films of the attack on Pearl Harbor….

    Thanks to all who have served………..respects and sincere appreciation to everyone of you!

  6. Base Says:


    Props to you & yours for what you did at the VFW. It is my hope your son returns home whole, safe & soon. I extend this to any and all who have people on deployment.


  7. oldskewl Says:

    Dear Rebel,

    Thank you for this article, my son (Marine Corps) is currently deployed and we haven’t seen him in over 16 months. My family spent the weekend at the local VFW serving food and BBQ to local vets, somehow it makes us feel closer to him when he’s gone. This one touched me, not knowing where son is or what situation he could be facing at any moment is painful.



  8. James Crawford Says:

    Re 55:

    Good points about WMD in Iraq. Chemical weapons were so umbiquous in Iraq after the invasion that the insurgents were frequently employing them as IEDs.
    (My spell checker tried to substitute IUD which would have been hillarious) perhaps it is fortunate that Sadam had progressed to advanced binary nerve agents that weren’t terribly toxic unless properly mixed during the flight of an artillery shell.

    In spite of the “Bush Lied, People Died” mantra, there is no plausible, alternative scenario that would not have resulted in Sadam or his Bathust successors remaining in power and acquiring nuclear weapons if the US hadn’t invaded. The invasion bought us at least a decade without a nuclear 9-11. The idiotic “Arab Spribg” and the resulting invasion of Europe by muslim “refugees” nearly guarantees that we will get not just an isolated, low yield nuke or two but the hundreds of nukes on the French and British missile subs once the Jihadists size control of our former allues.

  9. So cal Says:


  10. caretaker Says:

    Today I sit and reflect on all I have because of those that gave their lives for our freedoms. I look at the flag I fly on my porch that was found on the side of the road and I can’t help but think of them. Thank you and sincere respects to our fallen soldiers. A proud salute to you.


    Never forget those that gave all they had,for all that you have.

  11. Paladin Says:

    We have our tomorrows because others gave up theirs. May those searching for inner peace find it on this day of reflection.


  12. whoretaculture Says:

    I found your post because, I am not a biker but I have a brain, and knew they story didn’t play. I posted long ago encouraging you to keep looking for the truth and to let you know that not everybody was buying the BS.

    The Memorial Day post was beautiful and greatly appreciated. My father left Nov 1, 1966 and I was born Nov 2, 1966 and I am so lucky he came home. The emphasis on the horrors of the Civil War are greatly needed in this age of easily offended and easier offended for others.

    Phuquehed, we have much in common on the disrespect of the Confederate flag, my mother’s family has lived in VA/WVA since serving in the Revolutionary War. It was literally brother against brother in her family. The rest of me is Southern to the core and I refuse to accept that those that fought for the Confederacy are not deserving of respect and honor. I will continue to fight the PC idiots and Social Justice Warriors at every opportunity. Thank you for standing up for all of them.

    Thank you to all of you that have served and sorrow and prayers for all that did not come home.

  13. Victor 1%er Says:

    Thanks Rebel, from me and the guys still in the ‘Stan. L&R

  14. FF Says:

    Rebel, thank you and God bless you my friend.

  15. Difter Says:

    Remembering those that paid the ultimate price for our Liberties.

    @Kristin; You are confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day.

    Memorial Day for me, is a time of somber reflection for those that went through hell and high water and died for their heroic and gallant efforts. Leaving many in a state of disarray upon finding out the sad news about their loved ones.

    Confederate Memorial Days, the same.

    Veterans Day is the time to celebrate all. I am not going to get in a huge debate with you on this post, just study up a little.

  16. Kristin Says:

    It is indeed a happy day. Rejoice that such men lived & thank God that they were ours! For my Grandads, Great Grandads, my Dad, Uncles, Cousins, my Son & & my Nephews, I am grateful that you served when you were called & volunteered when you were not. God bless all who served, thank you & welcome home!

  17. Storyteller Says:

    For the past few days,when somebody says “Happy Memorial Day”, I have replied “Its not meant to be a Happy day. Please think of our fallen”. Usually I get that blank stare. But once in a while I get a ” Thanks. ”
    And they really mean it. Those are the ones I’ll have a dri k with. Welcome Home to all.

  18. gooch Says:

    brothers in arms; by Dire Straits

  19. gooch Says:

    God Bless our veterans, thank you for fighting for and winning the freedom my family and I enjoy to this day. I’m going to take a long ride today, and as I enjoy the sunshine and the scenery. I will be thinking of you and all your sacrifice’s.

    Thank you all

    Ride Free

    Rebel On!!

  20. John Deaux Says:

    Much Love, Honor and Respect to all who served in our country’s military but a special heartfelt Thank You to those who went but never came back.
    We owe much more than we could ever repay to those who gave their all.

  21. Straight Shooter Says: Mr. Butler will set the record STRAIGHT on who created ‘war’ & for it’s true purpose. We the regular folk are cannon fodder. Always have been & shall be for the 3rd World War that begins soon.

  22. Trash Says:

    As one with memories of far too many fallen Brothers, I believe that attending the Memorial Day wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would be a Memorial Day well spent. Those Still On Patrol must not be forgotten. But I also agree with Gandolf. A moving, emotional and deeply personal memory of a fallen Brother can be found riding on a two-lane country road if “I wish he were here riding beside me today” fills your heart. Were I the one Still On Patrol, that would be tribute enough.

    C 2/16 Rangers 65 – 66

  23. Gandalf Says:

    I’m thinking the men who died would want us to be with family and/or friends and forget about our troubles however big or small they are. To Live, Laugh and Love Esp You Rebel. It takes a special kinda guy to investigate, be outraged and complain fighting trolls and windmills 24/7/365. Come Monday morning Rebel, relax don’t turn on the computer, Phone, or TV (except if The Green Berets are on)Take a big bong Hit with your coffee and ride your bike to some ones bar-b-cue. Talk about anything not important.I will be a Lone Star Park betting 20 bucks a race stoned to the bone with my wife, kids and Friends. Lone Star Park is the coolest Racetrack in America. Very New and BIG as is the way in these parts.
    Y’all have a wonderful and safe weekend. INTEGRITY COUNTS

  24. USNDragon Says:

    Really good Article. A nice Summing up. Thanks.

  25. Phuquehed Says:

    My family also served in the Revolutionary War and the War of Northern Aggression and the Korean War. Congress has just recently voted *for* not allowing any confederate flag to be flown or placed on graves of confederate fallen in military cemeteries. Since most of my kin that fought in that one were Confederate, I think I’ll take a few of the small flags I have to a local cemeterie that I’m not allowed to fly one at and do so anyway…they died for that freedom to do so, for reasons they believed in and against a government that existed then that was more like a dictatorship and is getting worse daily.


  26. 55 Says:

    My family served in the Revolutionary War with Washington and survived. Served as a Yankee in the Civil War and was taken prisoner. Served in WWII and died in France. Served in the Korean War and survived. Was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam and survived. Was in Gulf War and survived and had the honor of emptying three magazines of .223 into Sadaam Hussein’s armored car. Oops, ‘we never targeted Sadaam.’ Served in Iraq in Ar-Ramadi and Fallujah 2 and survived and personally discovered WMD’s. Oops we didn’t discover WMD’s in Iraq. Served in Afghanistan and survived. My family did not serve and sacrifice for the current corrupt government but for their own families and the freedoms the current tyranny is trying to take away. Bless the families. Eff the tyrants.

  27. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    From one who worked the boats in Nam, Bravo, well said!

  28. SK Says:

    Thanks Rebel. While I have never been in the armed services both my grandfathers and great uncle served during WWII. I am grateful for the sacrifices made by so many in order that we can retain our freedoms.

  29. johnnie hammastix Says:

    great piece or writing right there….. brought a tear to my eye. not military but fully respect and completely understand the sacrifice… my honor and respect to all who have served and all who continue to serve!!!!

  30. T Hell Says:

    Utmost respects to those still serving and those having served, always remember the media and politicians speak only for themselves. Out here in the real world, in fly over country, we’ve got your back.


  31. RLG Says:

    Thank you.

  32. Just Bob Says:

    Thank you all who serve(d) so we can enjoy our BBQ.

  33. Momo Says:

    Thank you.

  34. Trash Says:


    Your understanding of the meaning of Memorial Day is right on.

    Still On Patrol:

    C 2/16 Rangers 65 – 66

  35. Bone Head Says:

    The videos Rebel posted should be mandatory viewing for every American. I’m sure most would be offended by being made to do so. It might make them feel obligated to remember how this country managed to continue on.

    Respect and honor to all our nation’s fallen soldiers. May their sacrifice not have been in vain.

  36. stroker Says:

    Amen Palladin.

    For my father, who fought in the European theatre in WWII, I will remember and honor his fallen brethren. To my Uncle who fought in the steamy jungle hell of Guadalcanal, I will honor his fallen brothers. To all of those who I was with in Vietnam that didn’t come back……I will always remember and honor your lives. I will take my small flag to my local cemetery, as I do every year, and give it to my buddy Chuck, now free of his tormented mind after coming home from over there.

    Respect and Honor. That’s all we have left to give those that have gone before us.
    But that’s enough. They gave all that this tawdry country of ours can still exist. That it can still allow and accept those who disparage us, those who spit on us, those that have the freedom to disparage us….still makes me proud to have been a part of the greatest military in the world. A military that still fights on for the great illiterate, stupid, segment of our society that will never understand the cost of freedom, will never appreciate what we and those before us sacrificed for their right to be stupid.

    Yet, I’m still proud to be an American.

    Thank you Rebel for your words above, for your service,

    and “Welcome Home”.


  37. WheresMyBoots Says:

    Thank you Rebel, that was one fine piece. Thank you for serving.

    To the rest of The Vets: thank you for serving.
    To all who served, and are serving: Thank you -Bravo Zulu.

    Respects, Ride Free,

  38. Sieg Says:

    “… is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,”
    General John Logan

    I fear it will be apropos once again.

    To all of my Brothers that are gone, wait a bit for me.

    Respect to all who made the ultimate sacrifice, and my heartfelt condolences to their families.

  39. Paladin Says:

    It is truly heart breaking to know that those citizens that disrespect this Country and its flag, do so because others paid for that citizen’s privilege with there lives.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


Leave a Reply