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Today is memorial day : lest we forget

Some Gave All; Some Truly Did Not What To Do; Some Gave Nothing But Profited A Lot!

Written by Day

(May 31, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Today, 31 May 2010, is Memorial Day and we remember the Fallen, the Soldiers who made the Supreme Sacrifice or paid the ultimate price.

Let us think of what Aristotle said once upon time, and its relevance to present day Sri Lanka 'We give up leisure in order that we may have leisure, just as we go to war in order that we may have peace.'

As young men we decided to join the military and there were so many reasons other than earning a monthly paycheck. The combination of reasons included but not limited to; family tradition or it runs in the family; status; as a livelihood; imitating (as seniors in the school joined the forces); patriotism. There was not a singular underlying reason but all of the above reasons and some in certain or varying percentages, depending on one’s strength of moral fiber, integrity or school of thought.

When the going got tough due to the scourge of Tamil terrorism and the JVP insurgency in late 80 and the near and dear ones pleaded with us, day in day out, to quit, the tough got going as somebody had to do it or ensure the freedoms that Sri Lankan citizenry would like to enjoy were intact. We were under obligation assiduously to do it as we were fed, paid, kitted up, billeted, armed and equipped by the taxpayers’ money. We were meant to kill as many as Tamil terrorists or Sinhalese insurgents possible in the name of national defence, before being killed. We were all for it and there was no two words about it. Because of or as our children need and deserve a peaceful and safe and stable and secure country to live in and realize their full potential.

But shamelessly the weak deserted the ranks and fled overseas being the sons of the rich and powerful, or left the services, with the family connections to the powers that be or the influential, after receiving valuable military training free of charge or at the taxpayer’s expense, without giving at least some service or the taxpayers money’s worth back to the Nation or Mother Lanka. One joined a military academy with the help of a Chief of Staff named ‘Psycho’ N’wela and another because his father had taught a service’s military Secretary in school, to cite a couple as examples. They both have Ph. Ds now, without serving a single day in the front or forward areas during the last three decades of turmoil in Sri Lanka. Every one of them was required to serve more than 10 years for the education and training they received. Still there were others who joined with the help of Kirindes and Vithanes but whilst in uniform, without a bit of shame and disgracefully, stole property from the Colombo harbour during the Reign of Terror. There are some more that have been just getting by. I call all of them and all these rascals who helped them to enlist into the military, without an iota of regret, the sons of bi*ches!

Please remember on this Memorial Day the unsung heroes of Sri Lankan military, who did the right thing by rising to the occasion to face a hail of enemy gunfire, a wall of claymore ball-bearings, Rocket Propel Grenades (RPGs)’ or walk across mine-fields and walk by booby-trapped buildings when Mother Lanka needed them in the moment of truth or in the hour of need. ALWAYS Keep them in your prayers at temple, church mosque or kovil as they are no more with you Sri Lankan citizens and their loved ones. In nowadays Sri Lanka, It is very sad, only the widow and the children miss the ‘daddy’ or ‘appachchi’!

They were the ones who were manning the ‘OPs’ (Observation Posts) in the thick Wanni jungles in the enemy territory while you were ‘sweet dreaming’. They were the ones who used their reflexes, while pulling duty, to catch a glow-worm (insect) in order to read the time on the watch rather than activating the ‘indiglo’ light on their wrist-watches not to ‘give out or give away’ their position to the enemy. How many of them, I mean, how many of them pulling that ‘Grave Yard Shift’ (that is what we call midnight to 4 am shift in the military) came down with malaria as mosquitoes had a field day or a free feast on these poor Soldiers acting as GOSL sent ‘blood banks’ in the Wanni jungles . Or because of poor Sri Lankan military could not afford to issue ‘Larium’ tablets to each and every Soldier (Mefloquine) before their deployment to the malaria suspected areas, like other western militaries do.

They were the ones who were wading through the mud and floods caused by monsoon rains while you were having fun and sun and enjoying the surf at the Unawatuna beach. You went there with your families for a week-end buffet to release some family or work related stress and for ‘family building’, or else you took a ‘date’ for a ‘week-end getaway’ to have some ‘rest, sex and recreation’ to your heart’s content while Soldier was eating ‘rice and dhal’ and doing ‘monkey runs’,’ high crawling’, ‘low crawling’ to close on the enemy in order to kill him.

They are the ones who created the atmosphere or gave human rights or freedom of speech to ‘Paki to dance in discotheques and write to discredit Sri Lanka, Jehan to appear on TV and talk about human rights violations, DBS to sympathize openly with Tamil terrorists, Vany K to act as a medic to terrorists to and go back alive to UK to pillory GOSL on BBC, MIA to seek asylum alive and rap and hurl barbs and bad mouth Sri Lanka where her father received free food, education, medicine and above all procreated resulting in her birth, ‘Bahu’ to be on the same stage with terrorists or ‘brothers in arm’, for Fawning Free Media Movement (FFMM) to write against the national security operations , for businessmen to amass wealth, and nepotistic politicos to profit and profligate.

They are the poor ones who paved the way or created the conducive and peaceful conditions or environment, with unselfishness and their sacrifices, for you to go to work and earn a living, your children to go to school and come back home safely every day since 18 May 2009 for the first time in the last three decades. Hope this peace lasts forever unless MR, SF, S and W Wansas, RW and their ilk f*ck it up again in a right royal way.

I can go on and on and on……………………………….

So, please, have a soft corner for a Soldier when he commits an infraction, make a mistake or cause a judgment error due to a human foible than crying ‘blue murder’! When a Soldier is alleged or accused, arraigned and found guilty of a ‘criminal offence’ please always remember what Napoléon Bonaparte said a couple of centuries ago ‘There are No bad Soldiers but Bad officers’.

On this Memorial Day it is apt to remember here or let us all reflect the following;

1. As a young British officer, William Slim, later Field Marshal the Viscount Sir William Joseph Slim of Burma, provided "Military Aid to Civil Power (MACP) l" in India during ethnic clashes between Hindus and Muslims. On one occasion, police attempted to restore order in the face of mob violence, but they were in danger of being overwhelmed and killed. Slim made the decision to warn the surging mobs, both Hindu and Muslim, that his troops would fire if the disorder continued. When his warning was ignored, Slim ordered four members of his platoon to fire, two into the Hindu mob and two into the Muslim crowd. Had the violence continued, the police would most likely have perished, along with many civilians as well.

But Slim’s Soldiers killed five civilians and wounded several others. In his charming memoir, Unofficial History, Slim reflected on the incident and its likely aftermath.

The Soldier always knows that everything he does on such an occasion will be scrutinized by two classes of critics—by the Government which employs him and by the enemies of that Government.

As far as the Government is concerned, he is a little Admiral Jellicoe and this his tiny Battle of Jutland.

He has to make a vital decision on incomplete information in a matter of seconds, and afterwards the experts can sit down at leisure, with all the facts before them, and argue about what he might, could, or should have done.

Lucky the Soldier if, as in Jellicoe’s case, the tactical experts decide after twenty years of profound consideration that what he did in three minutes was right.

As for enemies of the Government, it does not much matter what he has done.

They will twist, misinterpret, falsify, or invent any fact as evidence that he is an inhuman monster wallowing in innocent blood.

2. The Soldier and His Service ( A rearranged poem belong to unknown )

It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

A protest raged on a courthouse lawn,
Round a makeshift stage they charged on,
Fifteen hundred or more they say,
Had come to burn the Lion Flag that day.

A boy (podiyan) held up the folded Flag,
Cursed it, and called it a dirty rag.
A SOLDIER pushed through the angry crowd,
With a T-56 shouldered proud.

His uniform jacket was pressed and tight,
He had polished each button, shiny and bright.
He crossed that stage with a Soldier's grace,
Until he and the boy stood face to face.

"FREEDOM OF SPEECH", the BRAVE SOLDIER said,
"Is worth dying for, good men are dead,
So you can stand on this courthouse lawn,
And talk us down from dusk to dawn,
But before any ‘Lion Flag’ gets burned today,
This BRAVE SOLDIER IS GOING TO HAVE HIS SAY!!

Many a father died on the Wanni battle front,
In a war they said would end all war.
But Lalith and I weren’t even full grown,
Before we fought in a war of our own.
And Lalith died in Oddusudan jungle,
next to a stream he couldn't quite reach
Where six good men carried his dead body to be draped with a ‘Lion Flag’.

And bury him with full military honours.

We lost a lion; a nation is in perpetual mourning,

As men of Lalith caliber are hard to find but are sure to be born

And to fight in a future date for the unitary State

And to prevent a separatist terrorist in Wanni again!

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