We arrive again at a day of remembrance that has lost its original meaning. Memorial Day has something to do with old soldiers, but the true thinking surrounds the details of a trip- where we can drive and how much will the gas cost?
What does it mean to me and how should I communicate it to my children? This is where I must always return…
I would say that Memorial Day is a time to remember fallen soldiers. Young men and women who died in the ultimate political expression- war. War is, after all, a political tool wielded by those in power who have determined that words and actions can no longer achieve the desired results. Thus we go to war to force our perspective of “right”, our interpretation of “moral” and our world view over the other group. War is about domination and controlling the message.
But what do I tell my children?
I will take them to a cemetery and show them that when young people die, the world loses potential. That the liberties and ideals that we wrap around wars, the words of democracy and freedom- those things were never enjoyed by those that have perished.
They have lost the ability to grow old. They will not have the chance to feel what it is like to raise a child through the various stages of maturity. They will not be able to pick flowers and give them to a beautiful woman. They will not participate in bettering a community. Their potential will never been seen.
Most likely, the fallen soldiers of past wars, died in fear. They died holding a gun, sweating, panting, aching and paranoid of what lay around the next corner. They died knowing the instant before they were hit, that their life was about to end. In most cases, death in a war is not glorious. It is frightening. It is painful. It is pointless…
I don’t want to hear President Bush utter one word about the glorious sacrifice of our nations youth to combat terrorism. Coming from a man who did everything possible to skip out on his duty, the words are hollow. His words are meaningless platitudes. He plays a role and the act of this actor is not worth observing.
I would rather go have a picnic in a cemetery and observe the loss of potential.