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Just a gathering of links on the start of this Memorial Day weekend to hopefully bring real reflection, not for those of us who've served or are serving but the 99% who never did nor are, and not about marketing products nor about a few hours of that flag waving patriotism if even that.

'Flags In' Tradition Honors Fallen Warfighters for Memorial Day
May 25, 2012 – More than 1,200 soldiers assigned to the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, "The Old Guard," gathered at Arlington National Cemetery here yesterday to place miniature American flags on each of its gravesites and niches for the annual "Flags In" ritual that’s been performed just before each Memorial Day for 64 years.

The Old Guard, based on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is the Army’s ceremonial unit and has honored Americans buried in the cemetery with the Flags In commemoration every year since 1948.

The regiment’s troops placed the flags on nearly 260,000 gravesites and 22,000 niches, in addition to more than 14,000 graves at the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., an Army cemetery for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington.

Old Guard sentinels also placed four flags at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  read more>>>

The real Joe, attracted to two great loves in his life and they to him. You can see who his first wife was in the son and with Jill you can see in what matters to her and him. Many love to make fun of him but they should have even a tiny fraction of the qualities he has and shows, which is why these two women fell for him!

DoD Article: Dempseys, Bidens Honor Survivors, Biden Shares Loss

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Memorial Day Message As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Washington D.C
Survivors of military suicide victims come together to grieve
26 May 2012 - For the family and friends of service members who died by suicide, Memorial Day can be not only a solemn day, but also a painful reminder that military suicides are not treated the same as combat deaths.

Kim Ruocco, the national director of suicide education and outreach at Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, has experienced this isolating grief firsthand. This weekend, she is bringing together about 100 suicide survivors at TAPS' annual Memorial Day weekend National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors.

"[Suicide survivors] are surrounded by people whose loved ones were killed in action," Ruocco said. "There's a real sense that their loved one's death was not an honorable death."

Ruocco's husband, Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco, killed himself seven years ago. He was a Cobra helicopter pilot who ran 75 combat missions during a five-month deployment in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. He had struggled with depression in the past, particularly after a training accident in the 1990s when two Cobras collided in midair, and he lost four friends.  read more>>>

Obama: Memorial Day Honors the Memory of the Fallen
May 25, 2012 – Memorial Day is a time for Americans to honor the memory of the service members who died in the nation’s wars and an opportunity to pray for the day when such wars no longer occur, President Barack Obama said in his Memorial Day proclamation issued today.

“Our nation endures and thrives because of the devotion of our men and women in uniform, who, from generation to generation, carry a burden heavier than any we may ever know,” Obama said in his proclamation. “On Memorial Day, we honor those who have borne conflict's greatest cost, mourn where the wounds of war are fresh, and pray for a just, lasting peace.”

American history is filled with the stories “of sons and daughters who gave their lives in service to the country they loved,” Obama said. “They were patriots who overthrew an empire and sparked revolution. They were courageous men and women who strained to hold a young Union together. They were ordinary citizens who rolled back the creeping tide of tyranny, who stood post through a long twilight struggle, who saw terror and extremism threaten our world's security and said, ‘I'll go.’"  read more>>>

Presidential Proclamation -- Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2012

And leaving you with this to contemplate as to who we hire to lead and represent. Who are the greater majority, of the some one percent and their families, who join and serve this Country, especially in times like we've been going through in the trying to rebuild a collapsed economy? When you read the IGTNT diaries here or read a news report about any of the fallen or maimed or catch the PBS News Hour 'silent honor roll' look at the towns, rural area's, cities most come from. The huge majority of that tiny minority of the citizens serving come from what some still call the middle class, the lower end of mostly and with hard working families, right to the poor. They come from the newer immigrant families and even those not yet citizens of the country. They are of all races and religious beliefs. They are from all ideologies and lifestyles they cherish like straight to gay.

The past couple of decades have shown the growing split within the society we still call the United States. Not just the political mentality but the fruits of the greater majorities labors and who is rewarded with those. The past decade especially has blatantly shown the new america, not united, and those some one percent receiving the fruits of everyone else's labor and dedication total lack of civil duty let alone sacrifices as to the results of these two wars as well as the decades previous and those.

We have these present soldiers coming home and joining our veterans ranks, many not able to transform their skills and critical thinking into jobs in the private sector, suppose to invested in by the new capitalist as to consistent economic growth. Many are already joining the older brothers and sisters into the homelessness ranks, most of the older vets because PTS was ignored, costs too much to treat. Many are still coming home and needing to fight to get the care and benefits due them for their service but log jammed in the long underfunded Veterans Administration while representatives, with the countries blessings, lay blame on agency and not themselves and long time policies. The records systems of the VA and Military care finally only getting rebuilt, as well as trying to get the needed personal, in the past couple of years as it was ignored and criticized over the previous decades, even by veterans.

We can add those serving now to the masses of what a political ideology is seeking as they protect, and the wealth is there to help them, the new, still calling themselves, capitalist of their way over compensation for what others do. Rachel had this piece on last night which lays out what this new generation of combat vets and veterans joining us face as they rejoin that so called middle class right down to the poor.

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Even our younger brothers and sisters taking advantage of the new G.I. Bill benefits and attending colleges and universities most will finish those and join the masses who's labor is exploited for the benefit of the few as we also pay their way in the needs to maintain their ever growing extreme wealth!

Originally posted to DKos Military Veterans on Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Netroots For The Troops®, and IGTNT Advisory Group.

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