TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Memorial Day’s Lessons In History

I took it upon myself to drive the main roads in Dilworth, Minn., Moorhead and Fargo on Memorial Day weekend. I was pleased to see that each city had placed flags in honor of our fallen soldiers. It was also very heartening to see the many veterans and civic organizations providing programs to honor the warriors.

It prompted me to head back home and Google some facts that I had not previously seen. I want to share them with you in case you, too, did not know or have forgotten them.

The closest I came to the military myself was college ROTC, so I have a deep respect for those — living and dead — who have served or are serving.

I obtained statistics (stop reading right now if you don’t want to learn) that relate to American combat deaths by war. Just remember: These aren’t just numbers. They were men and women who had brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives and children … people who dearly missed them.

1. World War II (1941-45) – 291,557.

2. American Civil War (1861-65) – 212,938.

3. World War I (1917-18) – 53,402.

4. Vietnam War (1955-75) – 47,424.

5. Korean War (1950-53) – 33,746.

6. Revolutionary War (1775-83) – 8,000.

7. Iraq/Afghanistan Wars (2001-14) – 5,650.

8. War of 1812 (1812-15) – 2,260.

9. Mexican-American War (1846-48) – 1,733.

For those confirmed dead, at least there was closure for their survivors, if that term ever really applies. But there is another bracket for whom there can be no closure. The category of “missing in action” blew me away and made me wonder how the survivors handled it: WWI, 3,350. WWII, 30,314. Korea, 4,759. Vietnam, 2,489. Iraq, 2.

While researching the statistics, I came across an interesting article that I find both educational and spot on. It’s titled, “I hope you’re having a meaningful day.” The author is Navy veteran Luke Visconti, who co-founded the website diversityinc.com.

He recently wrote, “On Memorial Day, one should avoid the common refrain, ‘Thank you for your service.’ His reasoning was spot on. “On Memorial Day, the veteran you’re talking to may be going through a bit of melancholy, remembering people who died over the years.”

Visconti continues, “As most people are aware (or should be), Memorial Day and Veterans Day serve different purposes.

“Veterans Day is to honor the service of people who have worn the uniforms of the armed forces. Memorial Day is intended to remember those who died while serving.”

Instead, he suggested, we should thank that veteran because he may have had friends who died in combat. His idea may seem trite at first … until you follow his logic.

A few years back, I visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was simply walking along until I spotted the names of Cliff Cushman and Tom Beyer. I knew Cliff from Grand Forks Central and Tom from Shanley High School. That slammed home just what I was looking at. I felt pride and pain at the same time. Hurt — that they paid the ultimate price. Pride — in my having known them.

It saddens me that, as we honor the fallen, we live in a time period in which the values they fought for have been brought into question by our own president. When 45 addressed a military gathering on his way back from his world travels, did he talk about their current service to this country? No, he bragged about all the great things he had done on his own trip.

In all America’s various wars, the assistance was not one-sided. We helped our allies, and they helped us. We provide aid and supplies to this day — but the allies provide naval, air and military bases and allow use of their space for our purposes. All this talk about NATO not paying its fair share is so much baloney. The United States participated side by side with its allies, plus former enemies who are now allies. A united front is needed.

Not one word did POTUS 45 utter about Russian interference in our nation. Not one word did he utter about the work of our own intelligence agencies. The image of the fallen who’ve fought for us in the past should be burned into his very being. Perhaps then, and only then, will he stop paying homage to Russia and instead work to keep this beloved country safe.

We have good and decent people in this country. They, with the assistance of the courts, will slow down and ultimately stop the damage being done to our image worldwide. They will once again assure our allies that we have their backs, like they have ours.

The American military has always performed as asked. It has allowed this country to be great and prosper. Its members deserve thanks and more. Thanks to all the entities and organizations giving the deceased warriors the credit they deserve as we observe Memorial Day.

Some may ask, “Why does Davies always find a way to blast 45?” I don’t need to find a way. Every time he opens his mouth, I get a free pass. My father and his brother, Clint, served in the Army; I also had a brother in the Air Force. The actions of 45 affecting our military, intelligence agencies and the courts light a fire in my being that will not go out … until he does.

I wonder if the flipping rain is getting me down. I’d like to think of this as an informative and enlightening article, without any political reference, but that’s in the eye of the beholder. Have a wonderful week. Amen.

4 thoughts on “TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Memorial Day’s Lessons In History”

  • Barbara Harvey May 31, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you, Judge Tom Davies, for this well thought out and beautifully written witness to Memorial Day. What it means is deeply ingrained in the history of loved ones who fought for what they held dear. To recognize and to succinctly state where we stand today, with 45 is a juxtaposition of honor and duty against crass self absorption, lies and enemies. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the dishonor that 45 brings to the young men and women who gave their lives so we could live in freedom.

    1. Thomas A Davies June 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks Barbara

  • Larry Gauper May 31, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Spot on, Judge! Informative and inspiring. Another well done piece.

    1. Thomas A Davies June 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks Larry


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