No Room on the Wall

Monday, 26 May 2008 11:23 By John Cory, t r u t h o u t | Perspective | name.

No Room on the Wall
Vietnam, Iraq and beyond. A moment to reflect.
(photo: thomasbopedersen.org)

When there is no room left on stone
To write the wrong
Or spell the sin
Who will name the dead?
- John Cory

    May 1, 2008, marked the fifth anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" spectacle by George Bush. Twelve days or so later, Staff Sgt. Travis Twiggs, a three-tour Iraq veteran, committed suicide and killed his brother, Willard J. Twiggs.
A Marine for fifteen years, Travis suffered from PTSD, even wrote about it; tried to still the beast by reaching out to help others, but in the end it killed him. Collateral damage included his brother and a stunned and grieving family. Editor and Publisher has the article.

    While Bush, McCain and the GOP shout hosannas to war and scream about supporting the troops - back home and in need of help, veterans like Staff Sgt. Travis Twiggs find this as their support. You really don't have PTSD, Sarge, just the readjustment blues. It will pass.

    Miz Remy recently sent out a link to her vets regarding Agent Orange and prostate cancer rates among Vietnam Veterans. A glimpse of war without end.

    In the absurdity of false wars, this article says it all. War memorials are running out of room to list the dead. Mission Accomplished.

    Memorial Day is here, and with it the cheap carnival sales pitch of patriotism and sacrifice and paying the price for freedom. The sideshow of this holiday weekend will be the primary campaign pre- election blather and speeches about honoring the men and women who serve our nation. Nickel-and-dime phrase and praise, sleight of hand and tongue, to divert our eyes from the real issue of supporting our troops and veterans.

    Senator Jim Webb has a bill before Congress to increase the GI Bill education benefits of our veterans, but McCain and the GOP will not support it. Why aren't Obama and Clinton raising this issue during their primary race? Why are the media more focused on who is or is not wearing a patriotic lapel pin? Useless questions, I know, because for the media the election is nothing more than entertainment: American Idol goes to Washington. And questions about supporting our troops and veterans are about money, and true patriots understand there is always money for war - emergency funding and billions to keep the lie going. War is expensive. Care for the veteran and his family? That smacks of entitlement programs like welfare - and that's too costly and too wasteful of taxpayer dollars. Welcome to Wonderland.

    Close your eyes and picture that long obsidian wall of the Vietnam Memorial glistening with the tears of heaven on a rainy day, the etched names so vivid you can see their senior prom photos. As people move along you see the reflections of the families and veterans passing each panel to pay their respects, occasionally reaching out to touch a name as fingers rub and linger over each letter that spells out that life - trapped within the wall.

    Now picture the last panel, a soggy rain-soaked piece of cardboard with black ink streaked like weeping mascara that reads:

"There is no room on the Wall for more names. "Thank you for supporting the troops. - Come again."

    Today is Memorial Day. Miz Remy asked veterans to write messages to share with each other in the week leading up to this holiday. It is a tough time for a lot of veterans. Maybe we all could share with her and her guys. Wouldn't hurt to reach out with a few words for a struggling vet to be able to hang onto or pass on a paragraph of hope. After this administration's regime, aren't we all veterans of the good fight?

    As memorials are running out of room for the names of the dead, maybe the blogs can dedicate a corner for Memorial Day with a roll call of those who have paid the ultimate price, and then just below that, a petition to end the war and deception. Maybe radio stations will play, "Christmas In Fallujah" and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" at the top of every hour, followed by John Lennon's "Imagine."

    And because this administration loves corporate sponsorship so much, perhaps they should reach out to Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Halliburton and all the oil conglomerates that are reaping record billions in profit and get them to build care houses at VA facilities for the wounded and their families, such as the MacDonald House for families of cancer victims. Isn't this war just another form of cancer? Make the corporations earn their obscene profits and tax breaks by giving back to the nation - to the veterans and soldiers and families. And better yet, make them put the picture of every wounded and killed soldier on a wall in each and every gas station across this country.

    And maybe this president, who bought his way out of war and service to his country, should dedicate an entire wing of his proposed library to the names and images of those who have paid for his legacy of war.

    I know - never going to happen. And that is the piteous sin in all of this.

    What happens when the gardens of stone can no longer name the dead? Will the wind catch their souls and whisper their names to the midnight sky? Or will silence be the lullaby of the forgotten?

Last modified on Monday, 26 May 2008 12:12