War will exist until that distand day when conscientious objectors enjoy the same reputattion and prestige as the warrior does today. John F Kennedy
Like most other holidays today is a pale version of what was intended, having strayed far from its origins. Even more ironic is the name, Memorial Day, set aside as the day for remembrance yet it has long been the day of forgetting. It ranks even more notable than the Fourth of July (Independence Day), Labor Day and Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day).
What began as Decoration Day after the Civil War at which time graves were festooned with flowers and the 600,000-war dead memorialized on May 30th, is now the last Monday of the month and largely observed with mattress sales and backyard BBQs. (We consume 800 hot dogs per second on this solemn day.) It has been reduced to just another three-day vacation devoted to consumerism or the beginning of summer. Monday marks the time to leave the big city and set out for the second home, if you’ve got one, so as not to endure the sight of the homeless.
Americans have become world-class dunces when it comes to history, civics and just about all antecedents. We suffer from collective amnesia and act as if anything that happened before the smartphone is prehistory.
A friend once told me a student in his class thought that Lincoln was a contemporary of Aristotle. Maybe forgetting is the wrong word; ignorance better describes our state of mind.
It could be argued that the last three wars fought in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq were shameful misadventures better erased from our chronicle. But erasure only compounds the wrongdoing. If we took this weekend as an occasion for truth-telling the time would be well-spent. We might mourn the tragic death of well over a million lives lost to American weaponry as well as our own soldier's lives squandered.
If anyone questions why we died
Tell them because our fathers lied