I have long had an agreement with my wife that if by some chance I die while doing Army stuff, she is to stop the military from naming anything after me. Once in Ft. McCoy, Wis. I came across some out-of-the-way secondary entrance to that hell hole named for a fallen Pfc. and it was one of the most depressing things I saw during my career.
Little did I know something worse could be created. The above is a picture I took at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. A Global War on Terrorism memorial (a war still going, I'll add) for Missourians which looks like it was created by a conservative intern with a Photoshop trial, a couple monster energy drinks, and their favorite Rick and Morty episodes ready to go.
Historically, Jefferson Barracks is one of the oldest internment sites for veterans. Soldiers have trained there for every war since the Mexican American war and still do to this day. It has a nice park, a VA hospital, Civil war and Telephone museums. Hell, you can even get a picture with a tank
But this...thing of a memorial. This patriotic tank-top engraved into marble for millions of dollars is truly the war memorial we deserve. A unending war, built on a series of lies, never killing enough Americans for us to give a shit, but constantly bloating the military budget every year. A memorial that plasters the faces of some of the fallen and leaves room for more faces (in an equally tacky design)
I suppose I should be happy the eagle isn't crying.
Mostly what I feel though is the ever present weight of depression that accompanies my 20 years of service pushing down even harder. This monument to the companies that create our war machines. An obscene display of war and fashy symbolism carved forever into stone and demanding your respect lest you be accused of not loving the troops enough.
I wish beyond anything else that two decades of unending war would give the country a sense of the gravity for our decisions. I wish our monuments were not meant to look like still shots of recruiting videos, but something to spark conversation about war. About how it take the minds and bodies of everyone involved and twists and distorts them. Give me a memorial of frayed metal and plastic. Of a starved Afghan child and a Humvee with a smoking hole in the side. Or don't create a memorial at all and instead work to make sure we never need them again.
Instead we have this. And the only thing I can be thankful for is that I didn't die in Afghanistan and get my own face engraved on this