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The Bookends of May: Mother's Day and Memorial Day

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These bookends of May, with their common history but divergent intent and outcomes, raise some questions. Why did a Mother's Day for Peace fail to capture the public imagination while Memorial Day flourished immediately? Is dying for one's country in an unjust war such as the war in Vietnam and now Afghanistan, or an avoidable war such as the war in Iraq, or a senseless war such as World War 1 an honorable way to die? How do we remember those who actively gave their lives in war without validating the organized violence of war? What of the rest of the war dead of which an estimated 90% are innocent civilians are they remembered?

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H. Patricia Hynes, a retired Professor of Environmental Health from Boston University School of Public Health, is on the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice
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