If You Wish Someone a Happy Memorial Day, You Fail to Understand Its True Meaning
The mythology perpetuated at Memorial Day benefits no one save the militarists and war profiteers.
With its focus on picnics, barbecues, and sales at the mall, Memorial Day has become primarily a celebration of the unofficial start of summer and a festival of consumerism and greed. Perhaps most regrettably, it is an expression of faux patriotism that further exploits the sacrifices of the slain and the grief of their family members and friends to encourage militarism and perpetuate a mythology that misrepresents as heroism and nobility the savagery and insanity of war, in many, if not most cases, unnecessary and immoral war. In reality, Memorial Day has significance and meaning primarily for those relatively few who experienced war themselves or suffered the loss of friends and family members.
Between the barbecues and trips to the mall, celebrants may allege to express their appreciation and gratitude by attending a “remembrance event” and applauding enthusiastically as a high school band, a local scout troop, and a contingent of aging veterans in ill-fitting military uniforms, march by in a parade of their creation before retreating to their local American Legion Post for an afternoon of drinking and commiserating about their beloved comrades whose suffering and deaths accomplished nothing.
Sadly, what goes unnoticed is the insidiousness of these Memorial Day activities and the mythology it perpetuates. First, celebrants and their children are conditioned to view war and military service as entertainment, to desensitize them to killing and dying, and to encourage their support and involvement, with the eager recruiters always close at hand. Second, by misrepresenting war as honorable and heroic, it encourages the next generation of cannon fodder to contemplate enlisting in military “service”. Third, memorializing those injured and killed in war makes honest and critical conversations about American foreign policy less likely, eliciting instead enthusiastic support for sending our military to faraway battlefields to “quell” what in many cases are manufactured crises. Fourth, by affording hero status to members of the military and veterans, it provides an “illusory refuge” of sorts, whereby veterans may avoid facing the reality and the trauma of their experiences in war, a task that is crucial if they are to rehabilitate and achieve some semblance of normalcy in their lives. Finally, faux gratitude and support mask the reality of the scandalous way in which this nation ignores the needs of its returning warriors and veterans. Tens of thousands of American soldiers go untreated or undertreated for the injuries they have sustained in combat, including Traumatic Brain Injury (the “signature wound” of Iraq and Afghanistan), Post Traumatic Stress, and Moral Injury, all devastating and disabling injuries that often require lifelong care. Since 9/11, the number of veterans and active-duty military dying from suicide is 4 times higher than the number of those killed in combat.
There's not much more I can inject into this article. The highlights I made above should be fairly easy to recognize and place onto the past 20 years leading towards the war in Ukraine. However there is one point I'd like to make which is relevant to today and further in the past. See the photo connected to this post. It might add some clarification to the writers statement above. "whose suffering and deaths accomplished nothing"
If you're incapable of developing a vision towards highly questioning this holiday and war agendas it's built on, you just might be to deep into your rabbit hole for us to reach anymore.
I don't think the same pertains here in Australia. The politicians use the opportunity to bignote themselves by laying wreaths, the returned services league members march in sad memory of fallen comrades and to highlight the need for ever growing compensation & facilities inadequately & reluctantly paid for from taxpayer funds.
Once the the ceremonies were over the traditional practice of some is to attend 2 up school gambling rings [en.wikipedia.org] to bet money on the fall of 2 coins & get drunk - the only time of year that the law is not applied. Here we have two public holidays for carrying these functions out. . . Anzac Day each 25 April [awm.gov.au] & Remembrance Day each 11 November [army.gov.au]