The way we celebrate Memorial Day really bothers me.
Three Questions for Memorial Day
As Memorial Day is celebrated, is memory really what is encouraged or is it just an exercise in imagining? In other words, can we tell the truth on Memorial Day? While some truth is given voice on this solemn occasion, there are other important truths that are distorted in the telling or pushed from memory altogether. This is the case, not just in community Memorial Day services, but in churches that allow a Memorial Day focus to be introduced into worship. While I find the inclusion of this nationalist holiday in worship a wholly inappropriate, theologically unjustifiable practice, I find it doubly disturbing that from what I have seen churches do little to introduce much needed truth to the occasion.
Right remembering of the dead is a moral undertaking. It shows respect for the departed and displays sympathy for family members and friends left behind. But untruthful memorials serve other purposes, sometimes masking truth and glorifying that which should not be glorified. I think there are some questions we should ask as Memorial Day approaches.
(1) Can we remember without attributing reasons for war that aren’t in fact the real reasons? To celebrate Memorial Day by claiming soldiers died that we might be free is misleading. The real causes behind most wars have had little to do with protecting freedom of speech or assembly or worship. Major General Smedley Butler, USMC , declared, “Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die.… No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits.” Can we remember in a way that doesn’t falsify the causes of war, justify national self-righteousness, or turn Memorial Day into a recruiting tool to entice the young to enter the armed forces?
(2) Can we remember the innocent victims of war, even as we remember those who died while fighting? The majority of people who die in wars are not combatants. It is certainly not the case that sufficient care is taken by the military to avoid civilian deaths or that investigations of the deaths of the innocent are always undertaken. For those who believe otherwise, I highly recommend the viewing of the critically acclaimed, Academy Award nominated documentary Dirty Wars. Far too many people have suffered at the hands of the American military who have engaged in no armed hostilities. Yet they are maimed and killed, often on ill-founded suspicions. Remembering these men, women, and children can help us remember rightly on Memorial Day.
(3) Can we remember without the “us versus them” factor that is inevitable when we honor “our” war dead? Memorial Day was formerly known as Decoration Day and it served as an occasion to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By including the war dead on both sides of the conflict, the day was used to affirm unity rather than reinforce division. The sacrifice of the soldiers was acknowledged but one side was not glorified over the other. Can we remember those who died in war without reinforcing nationalism? Perhaps if all who died on battlefields were commemorated on Memorial Day –and not just Americans- the occasion might foster something greater than national unity: a global unity rooted in an acknowledgment of the tragedy of war.
Those Americans who suffered and died in war ought to be remembered. The grave difficulties endured by of those who faced armed conflict and lost their lives should be recognized. The soldiers’ best intentions in allowing themselves to be put in harm’s way –regardless of the actual reasons for war- deserve to be honored. But in the process, war itself should not be honored, the reasons for war whitewashed, nor should the suffering and the deaths of others be ignored. Rather “putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25).
Chuck Baldwin: What Does John Hagee Really Want? — “These WARMONGERING EVANGELICALS beat the war drums; they encourage the young men from their churches to go off and fight these ‘holy’ wars; they WORK TIRELESSLY TO ELECT PRO-WAR POLITICIANS…. Then, the politicians … send the US military to invade, bomb, and KILL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people, the vast majority of whom are innocent people. … ANIMOSITY against the United States is GROWING EXPONENTIALLY; in an effort to keep our country at war, our ECONOMY is being overburdened and overtaxed TO THE POINT OF NO RETURN; in the name of the “War on Terror,” America is on the verge of becoming a giant POLICE STATE; we are INCITING CHINA AND RUSSIA INTO NUCLEAR WAR; and America’s military VETERANS are KILLING THEMSELVES more frequently than are enemy bullets”
The Amazing Ron Paul: Bribe Money — “Wars should not be covert or casual. We absolutely should not be paying off leaders of a country while killing their civilians…. This is not what America is supposed to be about.”
Sarah Palin demonstrates why most evangelicals dissed Ron Paul, who wanted to bring the troops home. ‘Christians’ have two sets of books: one for US and one for THEM (“who don’t deserve rights”). THEY’re not our ‘neighbor’ whom Jesus commanded US to love as much as ourselves. Maybe that’s why most evangelicals refuse to investigate 9/11. If THEY didn’t take down the towers…???
Ron Paul at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference: “Life does begin at conception.” — We would like to think all we have to do is elect the right politicians and everything is going to be okay. But the government is a reflection of the people. The people change before the laws change. Morality has a lot to do with legislation.
Lew Rockwell: The Enemy is in Washington. That’s why RON PAUL runs NOT FOR GLORY, not for POWER, not for CONTROL. He runs to dismantle the aperatus in Washington. He wants to stop the war, stop the Fed’s counterfeiting, stop the rip-offs for the big bank, the big corporation, and for Big Pharma.” | CAN RON PAUL WIN? CAN THE ‘CHRISTIANS’ put their DESIRE FOR BLOOD below their desire to have some kind of standard of living…?
“Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS” Ron Paul: Well meaning church people are keeping the “war on drugs” [the war against the CIA’s competition] going, which helps finance the dark side of our government — our own demise!
[Repentance from Power-OVER music video] Golden State: Bombs (End This War/The Ron Paul Song) — “It’s not impossible that we can end this war / Just let your heart explode / It’s not to late for a miracle! — No more lying; No more sighing; I’m still trying, Arms wide open!” | Lets’ be real Christians — “Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they shall be called CHILDREN OF GOD” – Jesus
[Daily Paul comment] The real reason evangelical ‘Christians’ won’t support Ron Paul — “the so called evangelical right wing’s incredible and insatiable lust for war. War is not a family value. War is certainly not a Christian value. … Christ’s views on love and peace and so forth are pretty clearly spelled out. … Many professing Christians will be numbered with the goats on judgement day.”
What is Anchorage’s new statue sitting there thinking? “Why does Alaska still support Sarah Palin, the OPPOSITE OF RON PAUL on foreign interventionism?” — & — “Why did ‘Christians’ in this town vote for George W. Bush, the OPPOSITE OF JESUS on foreign interventionism, TWICE?”
My observation: Satan is using US to take out regimes that oppose his one-world government/anti-Christ reign. Be on God’s side. Don’t follow the crowd; follow Jesus. “Come out from them and be separate,” says God. Be holy. Let’s love!
Alex Jones: Qaddafi is another tyrant the globalists can’t control, so they’re going after him. The globalists are running the whole world and mopping up the final few countries they don’t control. They’re knocking over the old puppets, putting new ones in.
EXCELLENT! Cynthia McKinney: Obama’s So Called Humanitarian Aid to Libya is A Disaster: “The American people are being lied to.” Kadafi was standing in the way of a globalist, Mediterranean states alliance with Europe.
Col. Bob Bowman: The immorality they’re foisting on this country — We haven’t been the good guys for a long time. The countries we’ve invaded happen to be the few countries in the world that are not part of the Rothschilds’ banking cartel.