Every great war has a memorial and why should ours be any different. I mean they even let the Gulf War have a memorial which I can only presume is a statue of Lee Greenwood singing God Bless the USA and is only open for 96 hours in its entire existence. Oh, shots fired! I’m just kidding guys, your war was cool too. But it is standard and appropriate fare for a nation to honor those who have fallen in combat regardless of the cause that led them to war. And it is coming to pass that the Global Wars on Terrorism are going to get their shot to be memorialized for all of eternity. There a variety of Vet Service organizations supporting this endeavor, but since we all know that not every VSO is alike or even non-partisan I’m going to link the actual GWOT Memorial Foundation here. It’s a worthy cause to support even if in voice. In fact, the CEO of companies that produce, Rip It, SKOAL, and baby wipes sure as hell better be big contributors. But what’s a war memorial without feedback from those who fought it and here are my top 5 recommendations. I’d love to hear yours in the comments.
1 Marble Statue of General Mattis – I mean let’s face it, there hasn’t been a better singular hero to come out of a war since General Patton. Neither was the official HMFIC for the whole show, but history remembers the most quotable. And while Patton’s life tragically ended early, our beloved Mattis is now running the Department of Defense and doing it like a Mattis would. So I was thinking a marble version of something like the poster above.
Mattis’ bulging muscles protecting the rest of the crew as he holds the torch of liberty for all Iraqi’s to embrace their newfound American freedom. Now keep in mind this is just the centerpiece of the memorial. A war that has gone on as long as ours deserves its due width and girth. But the fact that it should be a glorious monument visible from space concerns me for the following reason.
2 Don’t Get Artsy with My War Memorial – I love a good piece of art as much as anyone, actually that’s not true. I am ok with some form of symbolism and imagery, but for the most part I want bad looking men with guns standing over the vanquished. A bronze statue of a solider dragging Saddam Hussein out of his hiding hole by his beard would do. Look at this guy, he’s like I’m soooo getting lucky when I get home.
Let’s recapture the moment we caught the murderous S.O.B who kicked this all off back in the Gulf War days anyway. Immortalize the fear in his eyes so that when the Aliens visit our abandoned ruined planet 1,000 years from now they won’t have to guess what took place. They will know that in the early 2,000’s bad men flew to a foreign land and did bad things to bad people.
3 Memorialize Sacrifice over Politics – The GWOT wars will forever be debated in political circles for the partisan rancor that often accompanied them. GWOT is now on its third US President and Congress has changed hands multiple times. You really can’t tie these wars to any particular political agenda so why not sacrifice the real reason most Marines or Soldiers fought.
Namely, the Marine next to them. Yes, I know the Army didn’t always have a Marine next to them but usually they wished they did. I’m here to tell you my friends, once you hear the snap and crack of a bullet whizzing overhead the politics are out the window. We fight for those next to us and little else. When Medal of Honor recipient warriors throw themselves on top of a grenade I can sure as hell tell you it wasn’t for Congress or the President. That picture above from the Fallujah House of Hell says about all as to why we fought.
4 Recognize it Was a Generation’s War – And when I say generation, I don’t take that lightly. The kids fighting in Iraq today were 5-years-old when I was there in 2003. Somewhere in Iraq I lost my Linkin Park Meteora CD and somewhere today a PFC is losing his iPhone loaded with the latest Justin Bieber or I actually don’t know what the kids listen to these days. But I don’t know how you memorialize a war that covers so much time of American History. And the truth is that it is still not over.
We are fast approaching the line where kids who were not even born when GWOT kicked off will be fighting this very same war. Brothers, the victory baby you made when got home from your first deployment could be pounding the same sand as you. This war has generational impacts and yet, so few of us actually fought it. I don’t know the exact number, but around or less than 1% of Americans contributed their sweat and blood to this war. Honor this generation and you get the memorial right.
5 Nail the Slogan – Most memorials have some sort of slogan that sets it apart and our memorial should be no different. And if I might offer this suggestion to be emblazoned in marble for all eternity to know about GWOT. Namely, “Payback is a @#$%.” That’s right, let us not forget how this whole thing kicked off in the first place.
I left the profanity neutral so you could insert the one of your choosing. For as long as these wars have been going on, I do feel America suffers from a little 9-11 amnesia. Those of us in uniform at the time watched the towers fall and knew what it meant. Those who signed up in the years to follow have my respect, because they had a choice and yet signed up knowing exactly where they would be headed. America didn’t start the fire my friends, but we flew to foreign lands to gift dirt naps to those who did, those who would, and those who would even think about it for a generation. That’s like something.
I think we should all support the GWOT Memorial both in heart and effort. These are my suggestions and I’d love to hear yours. But on a more practical level, I think we can help crowdfund and raise a few funds from our favorite brands we knew from our time. If you profited in any fashion over 15 years of war then I’d like those major industries and brands to consider helping this to become one of the quickest funded memorial of all time. I.E Rip It, Skoal, and Johnson and Johnson Baby Wipes. So if you can think of a brand that profited, drop them a line through social media and politely fundraise, offer them the link to the foundation, and give them an honest thanks. Big money was made off the sacrifice of a small percentage of Americans. The least big money can do is give us a Marble Statue of Mattis to remember it all by. Am I asking too much? See at the memorial brothers and sisters.
Support the GWOT Memorial by Liking the Unprecedented Mediocrity Facebook Page Below. It won’t do anything to help it, but it won’t actually hurt it either.