I was watching The Normal Heart last night, and in a eulogy for yet another dead friend, our hero says, "In closing, let me just say I am mad. Yes, I am very mad." That's how I feel about the crazed senselessness of war.
I want to be respectful and honor the service of men and women who died in U.S. wars. I do. But I do not want to celebrate war. I do not want to add to the chest beating, "USA! USA!"
I loathe the 'holiday' atmosphere, the sales, the parties. Can't we mark it simply, in honor of those lost? Solemnly? Do the right thing? Be the kind of people who are worthy of such a sacrifice by so many others of us?
America is defined by capitalism. We honor the dead by spending money. Nothing is sacred, not even the fallen.ReplyDelete
well put, my friendDelete
Thank you for your thoughts for this Memorial Day. Your post moved me to find my copy of At Hell's Gate (2004), written by Claude Anshin Thomas, a soldier who became a monk in the Soto Zen tradition. It's time for me to read it again.ReplyDelete
"For me, every time it rains I walk through war. For two rainy seasons I experienced very heavy fighting. During the monsoons in Vietnam, the tremendous volume of water leaves everything wet and muddy. Now when it rains, I am still walking through fields of young men screaming and dying. I still see tree lines disintegrating from napalm. I still hear seventeen-year-old boys crying for their mothers, fathers, and girlfriends. Only after re-experiencing all of that can I come to the awareness that right now, it's just raining." (page 3)
I've learned so much from soldiers for whom Memorial Day is a truly solemn day where friends who died are remembered. This year on Memorial Day morning, along with group of friends, I listened when a young veteran came to our group to express his anguish about his experience as a soldier in the current war and his fears for his future. We gave him our love and support.
Claude Anshin Thomas:
"What I can communicate is that there is no healing without community." (page 174)