Poppies standing guard over Flanders Field, Belgium. A contemporary view.
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"As a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars." ~~ Donald Trump, State of the Union Address, February 5, 2019
It's Memorial Day again. Set aside to honor those who serve and sacrifice, often everything, for our country. The day has however more than one meaning.
Endless, stupid wars, at the risk of redundancy, depend on the endless, stupid logic of endless, stupid wars. It makes good sense to memorialize sacrifice. But to channel that memorialization into an endorsement of more endless, stupid wars is an affront to those who actually have paid the price.
Well before making the remarks above, Donald Trump had invited John Bolton to be his National Security Adviser. An open invitation to the endless, stupid war they now predictably contemplate.
The equation goes something like this: "How many lives is this political objective worth?" The answer is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and in graves large and small, marked and unmarked, everywhere on earth.
Too often the very same people who stand and salute those who have sacrificed, then stand and salute the current endless, stupid war and its consequences, justified or unjustified. Often failing to ask the most obvious and essential question, "Is it justified?"
It's not enough to stand and salute once a year. A living, breathing memorial everyday is to stand guard over those who serve by asking, why? And demanding a damned good answer.
Another endless, stupid war is now on the table. A fitting memorial to those who paid the price would be to reject it.
On Passing the New Menin Gate
Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?
Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.
Here was the world's worst wound. And here with pride
'Their name liveth for ever,' the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.
Siegfried Sassoon, 1927
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