Memorial Day

If you are a person who wonders about why wars happen and whether they are necessary, then a holiday to celebrate those who have offered their lives for the cause of war is troubling. This sounds like a dangerous thought for such a day as today, but what I mean is simply that one suspects that many such sacrifices could have been avoided, and in fact that the giving of a life for a war cause is defined as a necessary sacrifice by those for whom war is an advantage. This thought must be weighed against the fact that countries, nations, territories do need to be defended from aggression, and one has a duty to¬†offer one’s blood in defense of home, and to honor those who do so. If life is sacred, then death is also sacred, and war is sacred, and sacred things should not be invoked lightly. My step-father served during war-time in a war seen as a conflict against evil; my cousin died in a war that is now largely regarded as unjust, unnecessary, and avoidable. It is easy to celebrate my step-father’s service. For my cousin I feel only a sense of echoing loss, a sorrow that his life was given to a conflict that perhaps should never have happened. Yet men and women who are willing to fight to defend the nation in which they live are heroes. It is the people who choose and frame the wars we should question.

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