We demand war.
It makes us feel big and strong and powerful.
Our rockets go higher; our bombs deeper; our booms louder.
Our destruction unspeakable.
Unspeakable in the abomination of desolation.
Unspeakable because we wish to remain ignorant of costs.
We slaughtered hundreds of thousands of unarmed innocents in Iraq.
We obliterated their schools and churches and homes and roads and bridges and water systems and electrical grids.
We sent 5,000 of our own to completely unnecessary deaths and catastrophically wounded 30,000 more.
We denied PTSD claims, painting sufferers as “weak” and watched the suicide rate explode.
We effectively denied medical care by unreasonably delaying it and refused food stamps and housing assistance, caring for the war more than the warrior, the same way we care for the fetus more than the infant.
There is no shared sacrifice. No war tax. No gas rationing or sugar rationing or shortage of metal. We go about life as usual, not wanting to be bothered by the thought of it all. We carry on with football and baseball and NASCAR, all staffed with the biggest and strongest and healthiest warriors among us.
Until President Obama reversed it, we even had a Bush executive-order forbidding the press from photographing flag-draped coffins as they unloaded at Dover.
We didn’t want to know.
But one day each year we pretend to care. We shut the book about “man lying with man” and “men putting on that which pertaineth to a woman” so we can grill with abandon the unclean meat of the cloven-hoofed swine.
We swim and bike and golf and play. And light firecrackers. And waive a flag. And que up Trace’s “Arlington” or Toby’s “American Soldier.” Misty eyes all around.
We need to just stop with the “Memorial Day.”
Call it “Summer Kickoff.”
And let’s have some real memorial days.
Every time we indiscriminately kill innocent civilians in another country, let’s take a day and ponder the value of life.
Every time a soldier comes home in a coffin, let’s take a day to contemplate the costs of war.
Every time a soldier takes his own life, let’s take a day to mull over the indirect hidden costs.
No lake trips, no beaches, no golf courses, no grilling, no hooting and hollering.
But in the quietude of our souls, find an increased devotion to peace. And a selfless recognition that when war becomes inevitable, its burden must be borne by all.
That these honored dead, shall not have died in vain.
We demand war.