Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial day.../sigh...again...and yet...

I went to church yesterday and sat in the pew with my wife.
Church is a moment where I escape from the world...well, as much as my fellow parishioners and pastor will conspire enough to allow me a moment to think in silence about something other than the world and how badly we're trying to bury it in ashes.
And so yesterday, conveniently in my own cocoon, safe within my intellectual walls of a congregation a betrayal occurred that one could say was quite like the Roman Senate and Julius Caesar.
Yes, the traditional Memorial Day Paen to all things military.
Fuck me.
I had forgotten.
Yes...those were my church...and I'm sure G-d and I are going to have a long talk about my impatience with my fellow brothers and sisters...but seriously...of all church?
"who do you remember on this day?" And of course, the Pastor whose brother served in Vietnam as a Buff pilot led the discourse on memories many lanes. So a video was played that tugged at the corner of ones eyes about a daughter whose daddy was dead in the ground all her life, but hey, writing letters to a dead person is emotional currency...especially for a video.
Well, everyones but mine because I'm thinking.
fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.
Sorry for the language, but this is what I was thinking in I said, G-d and I are in for a long Q&A...I'm sure I'll he'll be tossing my Q's right back into my face so I can get my A's that I want...but right now...fuck me!
"freedom isn't cheap, and my daddy said there are somethings worth dieing our freedoms."
What the fuck?
When were our freedoms ever jeopardized from an outside source?
The last existential threat to our freedom came from Britain in 1812, and let's be honest about that really wasn't an existential threat to us as it was to rid the continent of an obnoxious pest who was making "claims" of ownership...the rest of the time after that we have been fighting for everyone else's freedom, or for our businesses to have the freedom to screw over another part of the world...but my freedoms, and yours?
No, sorry, the only existential threat to my and your freedoms, sunshine's, is the lot of you willing to use your freedom as currency for a mythical security you will never ever get!

So I'm sitting there fuming...and everyone is clapping for freedom to worship that was protected by a guy who has been long dead being written letters from a growing daughter who hasn't learned to let go, let the dead sleep in peace, and move on with her life?

I'm sorry, but this memorial day, for the first time, will not be punctuated by my traditional "thank you" to the vets because I'm replacing it with this thank you.

Thank you to all you vets who went into the den of the beast, saw it for what it truly, fucking is, and said, "fuck this!" and brought the message home to the rest of us that war has an appetite for stupid people.

Perhaps that will awaken our fellow citizens that the greatest threat to the freedoms they enjoy doesn't come from across the sea, but from their own brazen fear of loosing freedoms that they never really cherished to begin with.

And if Sunday, yesterday, taught me anything it is that Christians are leading the nation in the direction of being gutless cowards...willing to cashier anything and everything for some mythical security that we, of all people, should know doesn't come from man.

G-d, we can be so pathetically sad.


  1. Sheer,
    This is well said.
    My emotions exactly and the reason that i didn't do a Memorial Day homily. In good faith it's beyond my ability. If i wrote one it'd be called-WISH YOU WERE HERE.
    I don't think i'll ever set foot in a church again, unless we have a drought and i have to steal some holy water for my dog.
    Pink Floyd said - have you traded your heroes for ghosts? We MUST believe that our soldiers died for something OR admit that life is but a joke.
    Thanks for writing and your penance is to gargle with holy water.The Ranger absolves thee.

  2. Sheerah: Well said. VERY well said. Surely your God would understand that all this glorification, not of the dead but of the justification for the warmaking of the living, of war and "sacrifice" is not the business of a just and loving God but the business of the Peacock Angel...

  3. "war has an appetite for stupid people."

    I think I get what you are saying, but I submit a revision. War eats the nation's young, whether they are stupid or not. In some cases those who ride into the valley of death screaming "their's not to make reply, their's not to reason why, their's but to do and die.", those I might classify into the stupid category. But the vast majority of those who ride into that valley don't do it out of stupidity or even ignorance. (especially when you discount the AVF).

    Instead, I submit those in the "stupid" category are those who start the wars and those who continually support those who do, no matter the cost. Afghanistan is now officially the longest war in US history. Those who believe that any life lost in Afghanistan is saving countless lives here, those people fall into the "stupid category"

    Therefore, I respectfully submit a slight revision to your post. War's appetite feeds off of stupidity.

  4. Thank you, BG. I might quibble and suggest that those who start war are evil rather than stupid. Stupid and self-serving describe those who "support" war without ever sipping from the cup themselves and while making damned sure their children don't either.

    I've had a fantasy for decades that if we must engage in war then old men should go first. The halt, lame, wheel-chaired, fat, high blood pressured, arthritic, "wise" old men. They could be the first wave to sort of "feel out" the opposition. The idea entertains me.

    Jay in N.C.

  5. Sheer-

    Like your post, but I find myself not completely in agreement, yet not really knowing why. War is an interaction: the aggressor's shame combined with the victim's justice . . . at least after the fact. Having been a "believer" well into my 30s, I'm more prone to give organized religion a bit of slack.


    Nice. I was thinking about you today.

    Jay in N.C.-

    What were you taught about Memorial Day as a child in school, assuming of course that you went to school in the South?

  6. Well done, Sheer. And no, I don't do church.

    I spent Memorial Day in Concord, MA, the place where it all began. Did the Concord-Lexington route, soaked in history. Nice little parade in downtown Concord, just three groups, all vets, ranging from fairly young to way old, and some folks doing bagpipes. Actually, kind of nice: no politicians, no active duty cheer leaders. Just vets, some in uniform, most not. I stood at the curb and saluted the flag those dudes were carrying. There were so few of us there that some of the guys in the parade saluted me back.

    It was a postcard perfect day in Concord. Several folks asked if I was a vet; I told 'em, "yep, and I don't like this day."

  7. Seydlitz89.... I actually do not recall being taught anything in school about Memorial Day. Of course, I might not have been paying attention that day/week. :)

    I always had trouble separating Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. I was told by older family members that Memorial Day had been called Decoration Day in the past. I knew that Memorial Day honored those who had died in our wars. That's about it. I'm guessing there was something I should have learned or that the South would have a different take on Memorial Day?

  8. Anon: The original idea (Decoration Day) was to honor the dead of the Grand Army of the Republic, so, yes, the South would have had a VERY different take on the whole notion of honoring the Union dead.

    In all honesty I believe that the "holiday" should have been allowed to die with the last veteran of the GAR. The generation that lived through the Civil War was probably the last one before 1945 that really understood what war really means. And even the WW2 generation never saw the face of war up close, other than the guys who went overseas.

  9. I must be getting crotchety as I find my patience with a lot of the "war" culture wearing quite thin...btw, Sedylitz, I encourage disagreement...keeps me intellectually honest.

    But right now, the more I think about it, the more I get angry.

    In pisses me off to no end.

    The church, me, moi, and everyone and anyone who has ever bent the knee to Y'shua should know fucking better, and yet.../facepalm.

    I tell them, "In war, people die. Your fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers (Jesus H. Christ...Grandfuckingfathers going to war? What the hell is that about?), and now sisters, mothers, daughters....and G-d help us if I ever say Grandmothers cause I will certainly blow a fucking gasket!
    And they tell me, "yes, you're right."

    "yes, you're right"
    Yes, I'm right, but why do they continue with the war cult anyway?

    I don't know what to say to them anymore...perhaps I need to just divorce myself emotionally, shrug my shoulders at the incomprehensibility of it all and walk away before I nerves could certainly use the break, and my respect for my fellow believers may go up a few notches if I don't interact with them too much.

    For some reason...the image of those dead babies and kids being piled on their dead mothers from the first gulf war...yeah...that little playback never seems to go away for me.
    Without digging out sick pictures to show the war cult what I'm talking do I convince them?

    Whether it's veterans day, or memorial day...war is such a fucking waste of life...we're suppose to grow old, live to our feeble old selves, have families hush children with "let grandpa sleep" as we snooze off in our comfy love seats.
    Not watching our entrails uncoil themselves from our abdomen, as our life flows into the ground for some corporate raider who had a hard on for whatever mineral/liquid/commodity that the other country had, or for defense contractor with a oh-so-new-cool-gadget he wants to validate in "real time conditions."

    Sorry,'s 10:15 and this day is almost over for me...tomorrow I crawl back to my lil salt mine and hope my cell culture made it over the weekend.

    Have a quiet week, I think I'm going to have a beer and enjoy the quiet of the evening.

    I hate war...and somehow...someway...I hate it more on Memorial day.

  10. Sheerah: I don't remember where I read it, but in was in an article about the early Church and the Roman Empire, and the gist of it was that for the first hundred years or so the Roman civil government fought the Church because the early Christians were 1) so damn impossible about polytheism (they weren't OK with it and the Empire was based on the notion that you could be a good Roman AND a good pagan/Mithraist/whatever) and 2) so intractable about sacrificing to the Emperor.

    After Constantine the Church "won" - in that the persecutions ceased and the Church moved into a position of temporal power - and "lost" - in that, being a temporal power, the Church now had to rationalize all the things that temporal powers do, like kill, loot, rape, pillage, and burn for the advancement of Empire.

    The history of churches since then have, if anything, reinforced that. It would take a pretty bold churchman to stand up and tell the powers that be to eff off. Those powers might...well, they might even imprison, beat, humiliate, torture and execute him.

    On a cross, even.

    Couldn't have that. Who'd host the Congressional Prayer Breakfast, then?

  11. Sheer,
    I done been thinkin' about you and the church thing.
    Why didn't you verbalize your discomfort and demand equal time?
    At my last MOPH meeting our former CDR was spouting bullshit from Luttrells book called Lone Survivor, and then went on to shout a lot of right wing crap. As soon as he was done i stood up and called bullshit on him and what he said.
    You could've heard a pin drop.
    I haven't been back since.
    Thought i'd share this with you, but i guess Geo. Washington can't send me to hell.

  12. Ken O'Keefe, now that's a soldier

  13. Ken O'Keefe, now that's soldier.