Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Thoughts

My wife's uncle is buried in Arlington after a long distinguished military career.

My father and step-father were both WW II veterans.  And there are many men and women who have served valiantly to protect liberty for us and for others.

But we also have to get past our automatic assumption that people who fight in wars are a) heroes and b) fought to keep us free.  Many US interventions in the world have been to protect US business interests, not the least of which, in this case, is the arms industry.  Writing about Memorial Day and those who served in the military honestly and objectively is difficult in the US and in most countries.

As with most public issues in the US today - whether championed by the right or the left - there is plenty of room for reason and logic and dispassion.  With any group that is honored by a society, the military gives refuge to malcontents as well as true patriots.  It's true as well of religion, science, fire and police departments, teachers, doctors, and every other group with more than average status.

Let's remember, clear headedly, those who truly put their lives on the line for justice and freedom and dignity.  That includes those who died and those who survived.  That includes the three who stood up to bigotry on a Portland light-rail train, two of whom died.  Because the media tends to focus on violence, let's also remember that lots of other people have stood up to bigotry and not been killed or hurt.  Standing up for justice has a risk, but most of the time, you don't get killed.  Those who would stand up like that, should know of the countless times people intervene and no violence ensues.  

I've done a number of Memorial Day posts in the past that may be of interest to some.

Memorial Day 2010

What's the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day?

Memorial Day Sees Hmong Vets Shut Out of US Veterans Cemeteries That Include POWs

Arlington National Cemetery to Visit Uncle Kermit  (not a Memorial Day post per se, but lots of photos of Arlington)

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