A Real Uniform Story for Memorial Day


Photos by Ashley Gilbertson, The New York Times; if slideshow doesn’t display, click here

Major League Baseball will be playing G.I. Joe today, dressing its players in camouflage to “support the military,” an all-purpose Band-Aid term that has lost all meaning over the past decade.

But Memorial Day, as I and others have been saying for months now, isn’t about honoring or supporting the military. It’s about remembering the fallen. And it turns out that there’s a good uni-related story to be told there — one that has nothing to do with millionaire athletes playing dress-up soldier.

Yesterday’s New York Times had an extraordinary article about how the corpses of fallen American servicemen and -women are prepared for shipment to their hometowns by the mortuary staff of the Dover Air Force Base. That preparation includes clothing each body in the appropriate dress uniform. You can see some photos from that process in the slideshow above, which I hope will make you want to read the article. Check it out here.

That’s all for today. Whether you’re working, traveling, grilling, or remembering, hope you have a fine day. Peace. — Paul

 

41 comments to A Real Uniform Story for Memorial Day

  • Craig | May 27, 2013 at 7:38 am |

    I think you accidentally linked the wrong article. I keep coming up with an editorial about Mark Cuban’s design contest.

    • Paul Lukas | May 27, 2013 at 7:44 am |

      Ugh — now fixed.

  • Mirliton | May 27, 2013 at 7:38 am |

    Very moving article.

  • Arr Scott | May 27, 2013 at 9:14 am |

    I come from a family whose men fought in pretty much every American war from the frontier conflicts of the 1600s through WWII, but the only ancestor we know to have fallen in battle was a distant uncle who died in the Battle of Lake Erie near modern Toledo in the War of 1812.

    But then new shit came to light, as they say, when the genealogist among my dad’s cousins found evidence that they guy didn’t die, but was merely wounded, or maybe just sick, and might not even have been at the battle, and went on to change the spelling of his name and then served in Congress after the war. We all were much happier honoring the memory of our fallen ancestor than knowing we had a congressman in the family. Anyway, all honor to the fallen and comfort to those who’ve lost loved ones in service to the country, and have a safe and happy holiday to everyone. Enjoy today’s ballgames despite it all!

  • Joseph | May 27, 2013 at 10:38 am |

    Very powerful article, and makes MLB’s money grabbing move look even worse.

    My friend called me to say he has two tickets to each of the next two Reds games, and to pick which one I wanted to go to. I immediately chose tomorrow night’s game, because I had no interest in seeing the atrocities worn by the Reds and Indians today. Good job MLB

  • C Sciria | May 27, 2013 at 10:53 am |

    Esquire had a similar story 5 years ago. It’s worth a read.
    http://www.esquire.c...

  • boxcarvibe | May 27, 2013 at 11:02 am |

    That’s a great article.

    I’d rather watch the movie “Taking Chance” than attend any ballgames today. I’m surprised it’s not among the movies played during Memorial Day.

    • DJ | May 27, 2013 at 11:32 am |

      It was on the other day; Friday, I think. In the years to come, I think it will become a regular Memorial Day feature.

  • Odessasteps | May 27, 2013 at 11:29 am |

    Since naming rights is occasionally discussed here, i was interested in reading an NYT aeticle yesterday about US Military bases being named after Confederate Generals (Fort Lee, Fort Hill, …).

    • Arr Scott | May 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm |

      We also name installations and, more commonly, weapon systems after Indian leaders and tribes who fought against the United States. I think the point is that they are Americans, and their military valor is part of the American military heritage.

      Personally, though, I draw the line at honoring anyone who waged war against the United States on Memorial Day. You often see the number 1.3 million bandied about as the number of Americans who died in battle. But that includes Confederate soldiers, and I don’t care how many Americans died in battle. I care how many Americans died in service to our country, and so on Memorial Day I honor the memory of the 1 million who died fighting for, not against, the United States of America.

  • Lee Wilds | May 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

    Jason Isbell’s great song “Dress Blues”

    http://www.cmt.com/v...

  • Coleman | May 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

    Wonderful article, Paul. Thanks for the link.

    Have a happy and safe holiday, everyone!

  • Dupe | May 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

    I know you are anti-Camo, but I wanted to share a good cause for the Camo. Detroit City FC, a 4th Division soccer team, and their supporters group had a game for the Hooligans for Heroes charity. The charity was started by the supporters of the club with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. The club dressed the players in camoflage for the game, then auctioned the uniforms off to give the money to the Wounded Warrior Project. Between regular merchandise sales, HforH sales at the game, and the preliminary auctions (there are 9 shirts available on Ebay), they have raised over $4000. Sometimes, the camo is okay

    • Paul Lukas | May 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

      Good intentions, inappropriate execution. I’m sure they could raise funds with some sort of non-camo gesture, don’t you?

      • Dupe | May 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm |

        Fair enough. The charity itself has some pretty unique garb (might fall under Supporter uniforms), including awesome supporter scarves. Have you ever thought about a Soccer Scarf piece?

        • Paul Lukas | May 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm |

          That would be a great topic. I’m not soccer-savvy enough to write it, though. If you’d like to take a crack at it, contact me off-site.

        • Coleman | May 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

          That would be a great read!

        • ThePonchat | May 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm |

          Dupe:
          I’m shocked you didn’t bring up the Twitter debacle about the whole ordeal…

  • Ted E | May 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm |

    A friend of mine sent me this very same article yesterday. She has two sons both did multiple tours in Iraq. I don’t know if its because I did 20 years in the military, retired just about 10 years ago as a CPO in the Coast Guard, because it came from her (both her sons came home alive and safe and unharmed) or the article just spoke to me, but I had to repost it to my pages with the simple “Memorial Day in one essay”. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I wish that the article was in every program/score card today and teams just ditched the camo idea all together.

    Note: Before anyone says anything about the Coast Guard not being a military service go read 14 U.S.C. § 1 which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times”
    Sorry I get touchy when folks say its not a military service when I did almost a year in the Gulf during the first go around.

    • Coleman | May 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

      Thanks for your service, Chief.

      I like your idea of this story being in every score card/program. Let people think about it for even that split second it takes to throw it away.

  • Christian | May 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm |

    Instead of going with the all camo caps, wouldn’t it make more sense if they used the caps they wore last year?
    http://shop.mlb.com/...

    • Phil Hecken | May 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

      This one way ratchet doesn’t work that way.

  • Gregory Koch | May 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm |

    The camo jerseys look hideous. And they honor the fallen troops about as well as dressing in blackface honors the civil rights movement.

    • Arr Scott | May 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      I’ve never seen it stated better than this. Thank you for the clarifying metaphor!

  • DJ | May 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

    Flipping channels, and glanced at a couple of WNBA games.

    1) It seems that all the teams are using the same number and letter font, based on the new WNBA logo.

    2) Now that Brittney Greiner isn’t wearing a long-sleeved shirt under her jersey…wow. She sports SERIOUS ink. Did Baylor make her cover up that, as well?

    • Skycat | May 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm |

      All the teams are wearing the same uniform except for the logo/wordmark and colors. Looks like a recreational league rather than a professional one.

    • LI Matt | May 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm |

      Did Baylor make her cover up that, as well?

      Probably.

      UConn women are not allowed to have tattoos anyplace that isn’t covered by the regular uniform.

  • Zach | May 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

    At the Tigers game, the Pirates uniforms appeared to be all gray. You couldn’t see any names or numbers from the stands.

  • Ryan | May 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

    Ah, irony: I’m reading the mobile version, and there’s an ad right below the header that reads, “Memorial Day 2013 / woundedwarriorproject.org / celebrate our wounded veterans and honor their service and sacrifices.”

  • Simply Moono | May 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    My Dad and I are watching the Braves/Rays game, and he wants to know if any MLB teams have worn any camouflage caps in the past (apart from the ones worn today). Please, no jerseys: just caps. Please and thank you in advance.

    • Oakville Endive | May 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm |

      Jays as opposed to Rays – note, there was Rasmus (Cory) pitching for the Braves vs Rasmus (Colby) hitting for the Jays.

      These special unis truly due suck, the hats look more like a tribute to duck hunters.

  • Douglas King | May 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

    Blue Jays opted to wear their BP hats instead of the camo ones

    • S Doherty | May 27, 2013 at 9:38 pm |

      RA Dickey wearing a medal on the side of his cap?
      http://t.co/HdOcnkRg...

      • S Doherty | May 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Douglas King | May 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm |

          There is definitely something there, did he wear anything last year in any of the Stars and Stripes games?

    • Francesco Caporusso | May 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm |

      Maybe they thought that wearing the camo jersey was far enough. I think that wearing the BP caps with the maple leaf on it was a way of differentiating themselves as the lone Canadian team in MLB.

  • Ben D. | May 27, 2013 at 11:02 pm |

    Rays third-base coach Tom Foley wore a camo helmet:
    http://sports.espn.g...

    • Wheels | May 28, 2013 at 12:25 am |

      Oy vey.

  • kevin | May 28, 2013 at 7:04 am |

    I’ve been reading Uni Watch for several years now and this is the first time I’ve commented on an article. First off I’m an active duty E-7 in the U.S. Army with 21 years time in service. I hate it when teams come out with camo uni’s and say their supporting the troops. Let’s face it most of this stuff is just to increase revenue for the organization. But I saw this time that the proceeds went to veterans groups. I’ve lost friends during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have some that came home severly wounded so hopefully the wounded warrior project gets some of the proceeds to help those who have paid so dearly fighting for our country.

  • GATSBY | May 29, 2013 at 5:54 am |

    Hello very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?I am happy to find so many useful info right here in the submit, we’d like develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  • Eric S. | May 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |

    The EGA(Eagle, Globe, Anchor) and USMC on the MARPAT style caps was pretty interesting, I wonder if New Era got the fabric from an official USMC supplier, as that mark is on the actual uniforms. In the Navy we have a similar marking on our NWUs.