Memorial Day’s exuberant parade and solemn ceremonies come this year at a troubling time. Some of America’s leaders are again saber rattling, talking up a possible war with Iran, pushing a rival nation in ways that could easily lead to an all too familiar series of miscalculations and counter-miscalculations — sanctions, economic pressure, threats and counter-threats, deployments and counter-deployments.
One mistake by someone somewhere along the chain of command — in either of the two nations — and suddenly the gates of Hell are opened wide. Missiles are flying. People are dying. Mothers are crying.
Let Memorial Day 2019 give all Americans pause to think on the high and brutal cost of war, and gravity of any decision to go to war.
Memorial Day honors the sacrifices of fallen Americans who bravely answered the call of duty when their nation had battles that needed fighting. Some fought in great wars that pulled the nation together. Some in controversial wars that tore the nation apart. Some gave their lives in less-remembered police actions and shows of military resolve.
For Memorial Day, graves are decorated — by family and friends planting flowers and remembering cherished faces lost to war’s cruel madness, and by veterans setting out small flags to honor the eternal resting places of patriots with no one else to remember them.
The flowers and the flags are tributes from the living to the dead — to young men and women who were but are no longer living, loving, laughing, smiling, singing, arguing, falling in love, watching as their children and grandchildren grow and thrive. They gave all that up. Gave up all that there is to treasure in life, gave it up for the sake of their nation. For us.
Each and every honored grave is a life cut short, spent in war.
What is there to do but think on them, and thank them?
What is there to do but remember.
Well, need we only remember?
This Memorial Day, let us — we, the living, the voting, the email-sending — remember, but let us also ask. Let us ask a few questions.
Why is the United States of America again playing at regime change in the Middle East? How would our leaders get us out of a war, once they’ve gotten us in? And who are these alleged leaders who so casually play dice with other people’s lives? A group, unfortunately, not exactly renown for deep reflection and sound judgment.
This Memorial Day, let all Americans honor the flag, remember the courage of the brave, and pay thoughtful tribute to the sacrifices of the dead.
And after long sober thought, good citizens, let us raise voices — raise in raucous chorus the forgotten voices of the lost millions, the countless nameless dead gunned down in the sweetness of youth — to stop these arrogant fools before they get more people killed, and send more brave, patriotic Americans to early graves.