I post this every Memorial Day. I don't feel quite the same level of suppressed anger this year as I did in the "Support the Troops" Dubya Years when this weekend became a pep-rally for wars that most U.S. citizens were utterly indifferent to other than as entertainment. But, still.
I have little or no hope that I can ever change the way this "holiday" is celebrated. There will be parades and movie festivals. Warplanes will flyover baseball stadiums. Flags will wave. People will "thank" someone in a uniform for service that was neither done for them nor has profited the serviceman or the civilian.
Few, very few, will visit a war cemetery and ponder the reasons we seem incapable of not making more war dead.
But I will continue to post this every year and hope.
It seems to me that the VERY best thing for the majority of Americans would be to think of this Memorial Day not as time reserved for barbeques and softball in the park, but as the time it took a 19-year-old private to bleed out, alone amid the dying crowd in the grass before the wall at Fredricksburg.The time it took a husband and father to convulse his way into death from typhus in the tent hospital outside Santiago de Cuba.
The time that the battalion runner, a former mill hand from Utica, New York, spent in a shell hole in the Argonne staring at the rest of his life drizzling out of his shattered legs.
The time it took for the jolting trip down the Apennines to the CCP, unfelt by the father of three because of the jagged rip in his gut wall that killed him that morning.The time required to freeze a high school kid from Corvallis, Oregon, to the parched, high ground above the Yalu River.
The time it took for the resupply bird to come to FSB Albany for the plastic bag that contained what had been a young man from the Bronx who would never see the Walt Frazier he loved play again.
The time taken up by the last day in the life of a professional officer whose fiance will never understand why she died in a "vehicular accident" in the middle of a street in Taji.I've been proud to be a soldier. But the modern view of war as video entertainment for the masses sickens me. Every single fucking human being needs to have it driven into his or her forehead with a 10-penny nail that every single day in every single war some person dies a stupid, meaningless death that snuffs out a world in a moment. That those empty eyes zipped inside a bag or covered by a bloody blanket were once the windows to an entire universe.
That the price we pay for "forging our national will" is paid in the unlived futures of those we kill and those of us who die to make it so.
Maybe then we'd be sure of what we want, and what we do, before we open the goddamn doors of the Temple of Janus.