eThoughts : Memorial Day, 2006

(For more about Memorial Day, circa 2002, go to: Chapter 47 of Renewal: It is not the Shedding of Blood that Brings Us Together or Preserves Our Freedom, It is Forgiveness and Humility.)

Part of the series It’s All Been Said Before™ (© 2006), a division of Book-In-A-Drawer Publications.™

Well, I had my run at civility and consideration, and legal rights versus the implications of stewardship. Part of why I’m a bit pissed is because it is Memorial Day and this is the time we are supposed to think about and honor those who served.

I’ve nothing against ceremonies, I’ve lots against obligatory ceremonies—they remind me of sinning on Friday and attending church on Sunday.

If we want to remember, if we want to honor, we are best when we do as opposed to when we just orate.

Our doings may be little or big, whatever those definitions are, but we are also obligated I think, in the consideration and civility of things, to contribute—as we can, but contribute.

My parents served during World War II (my dad was a “lifer”—and one who never recovered from being a prisoner of war). I knew some that served during the Korean War. I have friends that served during the Vietnam War. I didn’t serve in the military. I didn’t believe in it during the Vietnam War, though I believed in supporting the ones that were there. Mostly I didn’t believe I knew enough to have too much to say. I tried to join, when I realized I would be drafted, but I failed my physical—which was a surprise to me, but my “failure” was one I wasn’t going to let go of. Whatever I didn’t know, I knew that the military and I wouldn’t get along, so I was relieved. This knowledge is not based on the idea that the military is inherently bad, it is based on my knowledge that I’m inherently flawed in the military sense (okay—in a lot of other senses as well) and would never be able to rise to the military occasion. I grew up in a military family, and I didn’t like what I saw and heard. But, I was idealistic and knew nothing about the realities of war.

I still don’t, and I’m glad. I think my parents would be glad as well, and my friends who served. But I do know enough to realize that if we want to honor those who served, we do so not just in ceremony, but by learning to live and prosper in peace.

I think it is not so easy to wage peace and that it is also not so easy to “go to peace.” Peace is hard. But what choice do we have—war? I don’t think that’s worked out, at least in the sense that it is a bad thing that keeps coming up.

So, again, on yet another Memorial Day, let’s make a pact to really let our ancestors rest in peace, by having some peace ourselves. It can begin in ceremony, but it must continue in our deeds.

Here’s to more than just resting in peace, here’s to wondering in peace, conflicting in peace, learning in peace—living in peace. It’s up to us to make it matter.

Thus endth the tirade.

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