Though I have not had the experience of losing someone close to a war, I felt the need to write something about the sacrifices of the men and women who died serving our country, to acknowledge and indeed honor what they and their families gave. I’m a little ashamed of having gone a good portion of my life not really taking stock of what this particular day means, beyond the fact that a long weekend comes with. For years I’ve struggled finding balance with respect to honoring our dead soldiers and being mindful that romanticizing battlefield deaths does a disservice to them. Instead, I’m going to link to Josh Marshall at TPM, I really enjoyed his take, and in particular these snippets:
“Memorial Day is a very different thing because it honors not the death that awaits all of us but the military dead, people who gave their own lives for a couple hundred million people they never knew. But for me solidarity with the dead is a window into it.”
“Some deaths may be more picaresque* or glorious in the retelling or maybe saving of more lives. But each must fundamentally be equal. Because what do we say to the 19 year old in Vietnam who stepped on a land mine to no particular consequence in 1967 when he says to us “I lost my whole life in our common national enterprise. Who will speak for me?”
It is a thoughtful, short and enjoyable read. Take a minute.
*Your lying if you claim you didn’t have to Google this.