Memorial Day

Trying to wrap my head around Memorial Day has been hard for me this year.  I’ve seen friends post status comments regarding “being liberal but supporting the troops” (which of course implies that if an individual holds conservative beliefs they support the troops and any military incursion.)

Memorial Day, very simply, is a day to remember all who lost their lives in defense of our country.  Maybe it should be extended out a bit more: I’m pretty sure one cannot face the theatre of war and not be changed for the good or for the bad.  War is complex.  Volumes of books have been written about the justification of war. I am not interested in debating the subject.

For me, wars can be justified and I hold (mostly) traditional liberal beliefs.  I don’t find an imbalance in holding those two together.  I become frustrated when individuals make statements about holidays like this “supporting the military-industrial complex”.  Memorial Day started in 1865 by a group of freed slaves who fought with the Union Army to remember their fallen members.

I’ve seen comments about “the current wars not impacting my personal life”. Comments like this are both minimizing and display an immense lack of understanding of economics, geopolitical relationships and common sense.  Look that the sheer cost to our economy, look at the overwhelming cost of human lives lost and altered.  Yes, many people may not know individuals who are or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan but the reality is the lasting implications of these wars will be deep to our nation.

Memorial Day isn’t about BBQ’s, car races and the start of summer.  Memorial Day is a day to remember and reflect those who made the sacrifice to serve.  With few exceptions, we, as a nation, have always been defended by an all volunteer army.  Nobody leaves the military the same.  Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifice, and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Take a moment today to give thanks.  And to remember.

 

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