WARNING: This post expresses my politically incorrect, and I’m sure very unpopular, opinion on why we have to have a holiday like Memorial Day. If you choose to read it, remember I am speaking of our species as a whole and those in charge of our governments; NOT about the individual members of the military (except that they are among the victims).
This Memorial Day I remember those who lost their lives participating in the one activity that separates the human species from all others on this planet – the willingness and desire to organize themselves to facilitate the killing of their own species for reasons other than sheer biological survival. They did not “give” their lives for our freedom. Their lives were taken from them because our government helped other governments kill the citizens and members of still other governments.
There were times we seemed to be on the side of self-defense, like in WWII. There was no question the Axis powers had to be stopped, but there was also no question that everything began with a few people wanting more power and more territory – neither of which was necessary for them to survive biologically. There have also been times when we seem to be acting out of our own greed (Middle East/oil). We try to portray ourselves as the police of the world, but our motives can almost always be traced back to needing some resource from the area affected; usually oil. Oil that we could at least partially do without if we would just switch some power to solar and wind.
The point is, if you examine any conflict thoroughly enough, deeply enough, and in enough detail, you will find its reasons rooted in some form of human greed, or other dangerous human emotion. There is nothing heroic about war. There are no “war heroes.” There are a LOT of “war victims” – those who died; those injured physically and psychologically (including POWs like Sen. McCain, who I respect); those who lost loved ones; those orphaned; those displaced; those who had to fight and kill and then just go on with their lives with no special attention from anyone.
I am the daughter of one veteran and have been married to another veteran for 37 years. There have been many veterans in my extended family. Consequently, this is not a position I take lightly or without endless consideration. I am one of those people who knows the true meaning of Memorial Day – I just describe it differently. While everyone else is remembering “war heroes” I am remembering those same people, but to me they are the victims. The worst thing ever to happen to this planet was the development of the human intellect, and our constant waging of war is evidence of that fact.
Until next week….