This column was written by former Navy SEAL and Wisconsin Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden.
This is the first Memorial Day in over 20 years that our nation is not involved in large scale combat operations.
As always, this is a bittersweet day for our family having lost so many friends and colleagues over the years, but today has a surreal feeling as I now feel a much stronger bond with my Vietnam veteran brothers and sisters then ever after the shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan. The chaotic retreat that led to the abandonment of thousands of our fellow American citizens brings into question our nation’s decades long involvement in this conflict. Was the death of thousands of troops including the 13 lost in the war’s final days worth the sacrifice? Will the loss of American prestige embolden those who would see the destruction of our way of life leading to
Should we as a nation continue to involve ourselves in conflicts that in the balance seem to be more detrimental than advantageous to our country?
These are all valid questions, questions about our future that must be answered in the coming months and years. I myself will be eternally grateful for my experiences in our wars so recently past as I have seen the greatest expression of the human condition. Selfless sacrifice and unconditional love that is so profound it is written about in the bible.
But today is a day to reflect on the past. A day to celebrate those who as Lincoln said; “gave their last full measure of devotion,” so that we may be free. A day where we can thank those these brave souls left behind and a day where we can be humbly thankful that there are still Americans who will stand in the breach so that our progeny may live in peace.
-Learn more about Derrick Van Orden.