Honor to Whom Honor is Due
Military honor. Of all the words in our language, honor may be one of the most significant. When we use it we intend to give admiration and respect to someone. We intend to give that person or that group special recognition. We set aside days and medals and monuments to appreciate those who have served in the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. And they deserve it! They deserve it because there have been many times in our nation’s history when the men and women of our military services have made the difference between us surviving as a nation or not. They deserve it because they keep us safe. That’s huge!
And what of those that are honored? For them it means seen and unseen benefits. The seen benefits can be measured. The unseen benefits cannot. Both are significant, but the unseen may mean more. They certainly include hope, dignity, and a special place in the community. To fail to give the full measure of honor to anyone or any group when it is deserved has the opposite affect on them and on their children.
Among the days set aside to honor our military Memorial Day is special. It began as a day to honor all who died in military service to the United States of America in the Civil War (April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865). After over 100 years it became a day to honor all who died in every war the nation has fought and to include the soldiers who fought for the Confederate States of America to destroy the United States of America. Over 700,000 people died in that war and winning it saved the nation we know today.
The Unpaid Labor Project celebrates Memorial Day. We call upon our nation to acknowledge what President Abraham Lincoln said. He said that without the service of 180,000 Black troops the United States of America would have lost that war. He said what General George Washington had said less than one hundred earlier about Black soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Neither group has received the full measure of honor it deserves. Their children have not been recognized either. That has robbed both groups. The failure to honor them accounts for many of the problems in our country today.
It’s time for a change. The military contribution of Unpaid Laborers is just one aspect of Unpaid Labor Contribution. The contribution of 12.5 million Unpaid Laborers over the course of 250 years cannot be overestimated. It is the most important factor in the United States of America becoming the most successful nation in modern history. That’s what the historians say.
No Unpaid Labor, no country. Now that we have grown to understand that reality and that Unpaid Labor Contribution made the difference they should be honored to the full measure and the honor denied to their children should be restored.