As an older person I continue to celebrate Memorial Day as tribute to unknown soldiers who defended us by risking their lives to confront the Japanese and Nazis as they used their military forces to build and extend empire beyond their shores, their borders. Actually, the origin of Memorial Day was with the end of the US Civil War in 1865 -- a war that we think of as opposition to slavery, though the truth is more complicated.
It is laudable to honor the sacrifices of these men, some of them unknown, almost all unsung, who defended our shores and the independence of our allied democracies. But gradually, over the years, there has been a sick, slick sleight of hand, swinging our Memorial Day focus from defending ourselves against empire-builders to a celebration of American empire building. This is what we 'memorialize' today: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and, importantly, unknown atrocities throughout Africa mostly not monitored by congress and devoid of civilian oversight.
A few words here about so-called interference with US interest abroad. To a nation like the US, ever-expanding empire, nearly everything and everywhere can be deemed interference with US interests. In Africa, if an African picks up a rock the US covets that is interference subject to military intervention overt or covert. We have so insinuated ourselves into the Middle East that if any nation legitimately situated there forms an alliance, economic or military, with 'their' neighbors we often claim interference in our interests--such is the mindset of empire builders.
The above does relate to Memorial Day as we will soon be including in the honoring those hapless vets who are assigned to the empire-building tasks created out of whole cloth by John Bolton or Secretary Pompeo. So what is the point here? What is our penchant for honoring our dishonorable acts of violence against innocent people over there? What the hell is the matter with us that we allow this twisted version of Memorial Day to have standing? Can we not shake off this sick madness? Can we not honor our own discernment and sense of decency and resist this brainwashing by our rulers? I believe the positive wellspring of spiritual decency is what contrasts so sharply with what our vets did in Vietnam and subsequent military adventures. We must transcend our own limitations that allowed us to become co-conspirators in this madness imposed by our culture and upbringing. How else will we create our own future?