With The Help Of Almighty God
The only appropriate way to celebrate Memorial Day is with glumness and the deep realization that millions of lives have been lost and families shattered because two parties couldn’t figure out a nice way to play with each other.
That is, if “celebrate” is the proper term for remembering people who’ve gotten their brains blown out for the following reasons:
- Control of natural resources
- Big business
Even as a kid, I couldn’t understand why we seemed so joyous on the day we were purportedly honoring those who killed and were killed.
Watching The Memorial Day Parade (Denver Post Image)
It always seemed to me that the only sane way to view war and those who participated in it was to say, Man, that was the shittiest thing we’ve ever had to do and I hope we never have to do it again. Rather, of course, than saying Hip hip hooray! We beat the Japs!
Don’t get me wrong. By all accounts, we had to beat the Japs as well as other bad actors. Then again, we’ve killed millions of innocent and harmless souls because our generals lied to our leaders, our leaders lied to us, and we lied to ourselves.
And for that, we throw ourselves a holiday?
I suppose we’ll get ourselves tangled in another big war sooner rather than later. It’s what we do. I can only hope it’s for a good cause, although I wouldn’t be willing to bet this month’s mortgage payment on it. So, when we do take up arms again, let’s march into battle with Mark Twain’s War Prayer on our lips:
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of their guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
Yep. Always felt this way, always will. Thanks, as always, for your courage to say the most unpopular thing at the time so many people would pounce on you for saying it.
Mike, you are so frustrating. There is much here to agree with but also much with which I disagree – too much to discuss here. I think it will take 2 bottles of wine later this summer.
I went to the Unitarian service on Sunday (to hear the Sophia Travis choral piece premiere, but that’s another story) and the Minister started her sermon by remarking that for her, May is “Memorial Month” — because she was on the faculty at Kent State in 1970 and was taking part in the unarmed peaceful anti-war protest when the National Guard opened fire. Chilling.