War and Remembrance

There are two ways to think about Memorial Day.

Vietnam memorial wall

We could think about it as a day to celebrate the state and its wars. Most Americans do seem to regard it as a pro-war holiday; the other day I actually heard someone on tv saying, in reference to the three-day holiday, “Thank a veteran for the fact that you have the freedom to take a day off.” (Right, because if Vietnam had conquered the u.s. like it was all set to, they wouldn’t have given us any public holidays.)

But a day to commemorate those who fell in war is, properly speaking, an anti-war holiday, to honour the victims who have been drafted or otherwise conned into becoming cannon fodder for the squabbles among the ruling classes of the earth.

The true Memorial Day slogan should be: “Never Again.”


6 Responses to War and Remembrance

  1. Anna O. Morgenstern May 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    LOL at the coincidence. I am assuming you didn’t yet read my essay at C4SS?

    • Roderick May 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

      Nope, I hadn’t. Though it would be eerier if we’d both decided to write about Memorial Day in mid-January ….

  2. D. Saul Weiner May 30, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    It could be an anti-war holiday, but in practice it has turned out to be a pro-war one. I just read the editorial in my local paper listing out how many (American soldiers) died in various wars and (in so many words) how these deaths were needed to preserve “America” and our freedom and so forth.

    There was a place online to comment, so I published the following, sure to piss some people off:

    “Yes, a great many Americans have died in these wars, but most of these wars have had little or nothing to do with preserving “America” or freedom or democracy. That is the greatest tragedy of them all.”
    5/30/2010 7:36 PM CDT on pioneerlocal.com

  3. Andrew May 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    I think many of the wars America has fought have helped preserve America. By America I don’t mean its citizens, but rather its imperialistic ideals and state capitalist desires. Those things are pretty American, and when a war is fought so America can solidify its global hegemony, that is preserving America.

  4. Alex USMC '79-'99 May 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    “The Troops are fighting to protect our rights and freedoms”

    Did the US Armed Forces take a stand when the 50 states were stripped of the freedom to set their own minimum drinking age?

    When we were told that our concealed carry permit was void on local, federal National Parks lands- did the Joint Chiefs of Staff send out “The Troops” to restore American rights and freedoms?

    Any support from The Department of Defense on various state’s efforts to legalize? marijuana?

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