And so comes another Memorial Day. I am 69 years old, so I have experienced about 65 that I can remember.
Once again, we will hold Memorial Day ceremonies, plant US Flags and flowers and remember those who have died in the Armed Forces. We will play anthems, salute flags, and romanticize the wars that we have fought on others people’s homelands, in other people’s farmlands and in other people’s neighborhoods. We will call them all heroes. We will use this day to absolve ourselves of our sins. We will restate our patriotism and our pride at being “Americans”, ignoring the fact that the United States is NOT America, but part of America…along with 46 other countries. We will arrogantly challenge anyone to mess with us every again…..forgetting that, more often, it is us who have messed with others first.
One thing we will not do, and never do, is to ask the question as to why they died and if they had to die. We will not face the reality that most of the wars this country has fought since WWII have been to protect corporate interests abroad. We will not remember the dead innocent women and children that those wars created. We will not remember that WWII was fought in less time than almost all wars since, against much stronger and organized forces. We will not realize that “American Interests” has now gone from meaning security to financial gain. We will not question that it seems that war has now become a business. We will not question why the USA seems to be in perpetual war.
Please do not “Thank Me” for “My Service”. I was forced into a situation that I and many others did not support. It was not by choice. Do not consider me a hero. I am not. Do not expect me to stand by silently knowing that millions have died for corporate profit. Do not think that saying “Thanks” helps me forget the horror and dishonor of war.
I do not ask for praise or thanks. Rather, I would ask you to look deeper into your soul and ask yourself….”Was this war necessary?”. “Did these young men and women need to die?” “How can we prevent war and suffering?” “Why can’t we use more diplomacy instead of destruction to further our cause?” And answer the question: “Would I sacrifice my own son or daughter for this cause.?”
And finally……demand the government fund the programs promised to our veterans as part of the pact the living have made for their sacrifice.
That would be a good way to Honor the War Dead. That would be a great Memorial Day for me.