Friday, May 30, 2014

160.4 - A Memorial Day thought

A Memorial Day thought

Just speaking of things about the flag and the like, I missed mentioning Memorial Day last week because, well, frankly, because I'm old and I never got used to it being a moveable holiday and not on May 30.

But because May 30 is traditional day and that is this week, I figure I can still mention this now.

First I want to note that even though there is always a touch of "the honor and glory of war" about the day, not everyone embraces that:

The Boston chapter of Veterans for Peace marked the day with a ceremony to remember both the dead and the wounded, both physically and psychically, from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and to call for an end to war.

The Boston "Globe" quoted Pat Scanlon of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of the Veterans for Peace as saying “Memorial Day is not a day to espouse militarism. Memorial Day is a day to remember.”

Maybe that was why, on a day peppered nationwide with parades, 21-gun salutes, patriotic speeches, and praise of all things military, the observance of the Veterans for Peace was what the "Globe" called "stunningly quiet." As, I would think, it should be.

One other thought: In May 2002, someone on a mailing list I was on posted a message asking people to take a moment of silence on Memorial Day, saying "Let us ensure that those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom are not forgotten."

In response, I wrote this, which I like to recall every Memorial Day:
And in that silent moment remember, too, the many nonviolent warriors who struggled, searched, sacrificed, for justice and freedom, who remain without songs or memorials to celebrate their lives or their passing, but who at some moment stood weaponless against the machinery of oppression and showed in their simple “No more” a force that can move history.
It is indicative of how we as a culture regard things, that on the whole, we celebrate our soldiers while they are alive and our nonviolent warriors only when they are safely dead. Then again, I'm not so sure we're so different from others in that way.

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