Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING?

Each Memorial Day seems sadder and more difficult to get through than the last.  Yesterday was a bummer, a miserable day.  Perhaps next year I'll ignore the holiday altogether, although I'll probably feel guilty if I do.  What are we celebrating?  Because of my ambivalence about celebrating the day, Charles Pierce's headline resonated powerfully with me. 
Loving the Warrior, Hating the Wars: Our Memorial Daze
The entire article is very good.  I linked to it yesterday and again today.  We are quick to go to war, but why then do we treat our veterans and their families so badly?

Does war lead to anything but more wars?  That is the question, as dithering Hamlet said.


4 comments:

it's margaret said...

I ignored the holiday yesterday. Said my prayers of gratitude, and confessed our sin of war, and then went and presided at a funeral of a veteran... where the veteran's group insisted on the presentation of the flag and shooting of guns and a prerecorded version of taps after my final prayers --such that they "got the last word." I didn't have the heart to argue, knowing that God has the last word...

And, though I hate war and its consequences, if someone signs up they should be treated like royalty the rest of their lives. Instead, they get third-rate care at best --IF they can get it.

We got all this all wrong....

Counterlight said...

I see a lot of strikingly young veterans these days in my classes. One 27 year old former student of mine spent 6 years in the army with long deployments in Korea and Iraq.
It seems to me that the wars of the last 50 years look a lot more like the colonial wars of the British Empire in the late 19th century than they do the previous conflicts of the USA; lots of poor and marginalized young people desperate for a new start in life who end up in some far corner of the earth that they've never heard of until they've arrived there. Arcane political designs and commercial interests that they're barely aware of send these young men and women into terrible situations from which they might not return.
I don't really consider myself a pacifist, but I'm beginning to agree more and more with Chris Hedges who said that war is the betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians, and idealists by cynics. War is not politics by another name, but the failure of politics. The resort to violence is the admission of failure and desperation. I'm becoming less patient with the efforts by some to paper over the absolute pacifism in the Gospel with "Just War" doctrines.

Grandmère Mimi said...

margaret, I prayed, too, and we really did not celebrate the day, but I felt the sadness. Presiding at the funeral of one veteran on Memorial Day is indeed a fitting tribute to all who have died in our wars.

Counterlight, a just war? I once believed in the concept, but I can't picture what a just war would look like with the weapons we have today. I think now of the armed drones. Chris Hedges is right, and perhaps his views are so very controversial, because we sense that our hegemony in the world is on the skids.

RENZ said...

Mimi, I'm with you. And my comment got to be so long I turned into a blog post instead. I will be linking to this post so we'll see what blogger does with that.