Friday, May 26, 2006

Put the Memory back in Memorial Day

During this time of war and division, here is a plea: put the Memory back in Memorial Day. I opposed completely the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and even more the U.S. invasion of Iraq. However, it is one thing to oppose the government policy and another to turn my back on my fellow Americans who are doing their duty as they see it with great integrity and honor. Please take a few moments over this weekend, and especially on Monday, to remember the military, civilian support and medical workers who have been killed, injured and traumatized in every war and "police action."

This image is a memorial poppy at High Wood WWI cemetary in France, courtesy of Wikipedia.

I came of age during the end of the Viet Nam War period. I remember a great deal of division over how to treat returning Nam vets, partly because of terrible events like the My Lai massacre. The public was tired of Viet Nam and did not give the veterans any kind of welcome as they came home. But they did, finally, build the very moving Viet Nam Memorial Wall. I have visited this amazing memorial, and felt the emotional power of it. Perhaps the war of your youth always touches you the most. Poppies of Flanders Field must have meant far more to those who knew the young men whose death was symbolized, though reading the powerful poems of Wilfrid Owen and other WWI poets is very touching.

Here are some links about thinking on this Memorial Day:

Memorial Day Organization link
Includes many poems, links to veterans, MIA/POW organizations, Find a Grave, and an amazing variety of related organizations.

PBS National Memorial Day Concert link

Wikipedia Entry on Memorial Day link

Counter-Govt. Messages/In Support of Military/Warning
"The Ultimate Betrayal? Humvee Realities" by W. Thomas Smith in National Review link (Dec. 21, 2005)

"A Fatal Betrayal of the Military's Women" blog entry at Independent Women's Forum link Jan., 14, 2005, citing to Center for Military Readiness link which includes newer information now, including a pdf "CMR Policy Analysis Feb., 2006, Army Still Violating Policy and Law on Women in Land Combat" link
Looks Like CMR is an excellent cite for this topic.

Iraq News Network link
blogging soldiers from Iraq coming to terms with their own sense of betrayal.

Gold Star Families for Peace link
Cindy Sheehan's website; mostly links to her speeches.

Think Progress "Mission Accomplished By the Numbers" link
As of May, 2006, shocking numbers of numbers killed, injured, cost to taxpayers, approval ratings, and number of insurgents and daily insurgent attacks.

"Mission (Not Really) Accomplished" The Nation, May 4, 2006 link Includes reference to "failed state" index for Iraq and Afghanistan, developed by the Fund for Peace, link here for 2006.

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