Monday, May 28, 2007

Respecting the Fallen or Idolizing Violence?

Memorial day is a day when we are supposed to remember fallen soldiers. This I have no problem with, what I do have a problem the most common way this is celebrated (other than the drinking and cookouts, which are completely unrelated) are stories of fallen U.S. soldiers that valiantly answered the call of duty and paid the "ultimate price" for our freedom. I think there are two things fundementally wrong with this:

1. Our freedoms have not been under direct assault WW2, our comfort and economy has been assaulted the pockets of modern day robber barons have been assaulted. I know I know, but what about 911... 911 was a wake up call that brought us into a world that every other country had been living in for decades. I am not taking away from its savagery or the magnitude of tragedy, but we were a niave isolated nation. We should have taken that moment to step up to the world and show them that we are a nation that belongs to the world and fight terror all over the world; africa, asia, europe, here domestically, not just the middle east, which I am aware is both part of asia and africa. Instead we have bullrushed our way past the point of no return leaving us more isolated than before.

2. It is my humble opinion that to take away from Memorial Day what we should remember is that it was not just U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan...It was not only U.S. soldiers dying in Vietnam and was not just U.S. soldiers dying in Europe in the early part of the 20th century. Every person that died was a human being, thats what people need to understand...we need to stop villifying our enemies and putting ourselves on pedestals. We should take this day to remember that even our enemies wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers feel the same pain we do when they are told that there husband, brother, father, or son won't be returning.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

-Dwight D. Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

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