For me, Memorial Day is not a day of celebration, flag-waving, and parades. It’s a day of mourning. A day to remember all who died as a result of war – American, Enemy, Civilian. All fellow human beings whose lives ended too soon. All denied the chance to live another day; few with a say in the events that led to their demise.
Memorial Day reminds me more of our weaknesses than our strengths. The cries of life irrevocably lost is silenced by the rhetoric of those in power who use Memorial Day for building political capital, and war for creating personal wealth. They are easy to recognize – never in the middle of the action but far removed from it. Like schoolboys playing with toy soldiers, they find joy in a horror they know nothing of.
Ignore the demagogues. Instead, listen to those who know war firsthand…
“What a cruel thing war is… to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors.” Robert E. Lee – Confederate General (2nd in his class at West Point)
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” Dwight D. Eisenhower – Five Star General and 34th President
“War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality.” John McCain – Senator and Vietnam POW
A memorial for remembering all lives, as equals.