Jeffrey here. Today, Memorial Day, Joey is silent.
My late mother’s cousin Herbie (their fathers were brothers) graduated from the University of Miami at age 19 with a degree in English. Soon after, in Normandy, Herbie was dead.I can’t remember Herbie on Memorial Day, because I never knew him. I don’t know whether anyone remembers him—him, not just a name or a photo or a story, but him. He has been dead for 72 years.
Memorials and honors do the dead no good.
Perhaps honoring the military dead is meant to encourage the living to die for a Cause. In Herbie’s case, he died for Others’ Survival (remember, Hitler declared war on the USA, caused millions of deaths, created millions of refugees, and intended to destroy our society). Was Herbie’s death useless? Maybe what killed Herbie, therefore didn’t kill someone else. And maybe not.
As for the Americans more recently fallen in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., etc., they died for Games Politicians Play.
Self-defense is a necessary evil. We’ll always need people trained to do the awful work of killing fellow humans who won’t live and let live. But let’s stop so readily finding it necessary.
Then, maybe, someday, we can let mourning be private; let life’s inevitable losses be about heartbreak and love, not about the military and the imagined “glory” of violent death; and let the last Monday in May be a welcome to summer rather than what it is today. Which is a remembrance of military deaths—in our time, mostly senseless deaths—in shocking dissonance with barbecues and shopping sprees.
And if we have less war, we’ll make fewer refugees. Then you, I, and Human Rights First can find other causes to support.
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We biked 78 miles, leaving Missouri, crossing a corner of Kansas, and reaching Vinita, Oklahoma. We enjoyed benign terrain, reasonably good roads, moderate headwinds, and cooling rains and thunderstorms. I’d rather bike in cold rain than in fierce sun.