In the United States we celebrate Memorial Day everyday on the last Monday of May. This is a United States only holiday and its principle aim seems to be honoring and glorifing war dead. I just heard President Bush use all the politically correct cliches to affirm his policy of war without end. No doubt most of the common soldiers that get killed in wars go to their deaths for a variety of reasons. My mother gets very emotional when talking about her war, World War II. I get emotional when discussing Vietnam and the current illegal war in Iraq.
Listening to President Bush today one could get the mistaken impression that the only way freedom is won or secured is through armed conflict. In truth armed conflict represents a failure of humanity, not a reason to rejoice. President Bush did a lot of drum beating today in Arlington, but why then has he failed to attend at least one funeral of any soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan? Why has his administration put coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base off limits to the media?
I think we ought to memorialize those Americans who advanced the cause of freedom and liberty without firing a shot. Why not memorialize Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. What about memorializing Women’s Suffrage? Instead of 21 gun salutes how about a moment or minute of silence.
We’ll keep Memorial Day until America tires of war. Peace.