We had our annual American Legion Memorial Day service at Sunland Park this past weekend, and nearly 200 people showed up to give their respect to our fallen servicemen and women. People were solemn and people were happy seeing those still alive. And the bell rang for our fallen warriors. Things are really different now, and yet still the same. Just the names and places are different, the people are still the same. I was talking to one vet that had recently been in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s hard to remember that we’ve been there since 1974. Forty years and nothing really has changed. Oh wait, let’s see, the Al Qaeda were our allies then. The Shah and Saddam Hussein were fighting the Russians for us and we weren’t there, or at least some of us weren’t there. Just like we weren’t in Cambodia and, and, and…
But people still died on both sides of the fence. It’s funny in a macabre sense: we taught our enemies how to conduct unconventional warfare against us—and with devastating results. We now have more returning veterans that were injured and maimed by IEDs than in the entire Vietnam War.
And our ex-friends are using our own equipment to do it. What’s wrong with that picture? I’m an observer. And I used to wonder what is really going on. In Vietnam, we had Halliburton, Vinnell, Boeing, Bell, and other “TechReps” providing services that really weren’t needed, so why were they there? Now in Iraq and Afghanistan we have the same names, the same companies, the same players. A lot of years ago when I was playing politics as Legislative Liaison for the state colleges, I met Willis Edwards (who later became a major player in the NAACP). He gave me a parchment document with a red ribbon around it. He said with a smile, “Don’t open this until you think you’re really in over your head.” A couple of years later, in Iran, I opened it up. It said “They are playing a game. I see the game they’re playing. If I let them know that I see the game, they will punish me. So I must continue playing the game of NOT seeing the game.”And here I am, 40 + years later, in Sunland-Tujunga, watching them play the game. Unfortunately, the players haven’t a clue of how they are destroying our community.
Let’s ring the bell for those we’ve lost here in Sunland-Tujunga:
Ding – the Easter Carnival. Ding – The Watermelon Festival.
Ding – the Commerce Street Party.
Ding – The S-T Farmers Market.
Ding – The 4th of July Parade with EVERYBODY being involved.
Ding – National Night Out where we celebrated our real local heroes.
Ding – the Annual Community Police Awards Dinner.
Ding – A real Chamber of Commerce.
As John Donne once penned “…and therefore never send to know for whom the bells toll; it tolls for thee.” And this time boys and girls, it’s not the Water!