Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day: A Writer's Reflection

Image via Microsoft Office
Memorial Day always stirs mixed feelings in me.  It is a day set aside to honor the men and women who've fought for our country. It is good and right that we do so.

But the patriotic fervor of Memorial Day often seems myopic. In all the flag-waving, saluting, parades, and barbecues, we lose sight of the fact that not all wars are necessary.

We forget that wars are started not by soldiers but by politicians who do not go to war themselves (though, to be fair, many have).

We forget that politicians sell wars to us, often bending truth, distorting facts, and rallying emotions.

So, Memorial Day often feels like it's built around both truth and lies.

On Monday, while we take a day to honor those in the service, let's also take a moment to reflect on each war they've fought and ask ourselves, what were the causes of that war?  What good came from fighting?  Was the war truly necessary?  And let's remind ourselves of the horrible cost of any war.

Asking such questions does not dishonor soldiers. Rather, it calls attention to that which we all want: to know that, when we go war (and, yes, sometimes we must), it's for a cause we believe in. That the sacrifices we are asking them to make are, indeed, for the greater good and not for vague political slogans such as "making the world safe for democracy."

And let’s remember that true freedom comes not from waging war but from conquering our own fears.
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