Memorial Day–An appropriate day for silence

Many people in this world have had the misfortune of knowing somebody that they intensely disliked. For some it is the relative that overstays their welcome. For others, it is a rival in school or at work. For others sadly enough, it is those closest to them. Yet when tragedy befalls someone we dislike, the most noble of us resist the urge to feel glee at the permanent suffering of another. Even if we are delighted that a perceived obstacle to our happiness has been removed, we keep silent, and conduct ourselves with dignity. One thing we do not do is go to their funeral, and badmouth them. We leave them be.

As we approach Memorial Day weekend, many individuals and families will be focusing on barbecues, sales at the malls, blockbuster summer movies, driving to see friends and family, and of course, sleeping in. These activities do not do anything to help society, but they do no harm as well. What is harmful is taking a solemn day and disrespecting it by dishonoring the people this holiday is for. If one wants to rant about war and soldiers, there is always Veteran’s Day (which is also tactless, but ever so slightly less so). Not Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a funeral. When people died at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11, we mourned respectfully. We must show the same respect for fallen military personnel as we do to fallen private citizens, because soldiers are citizens as well.

There is talk of leading an anti-war protest march on Memorial Day. One can be against the War in Iraq and still be a patriotic dissenter (although horribly misguided and utterly wrong). Protesting against the war on Memorial Day simply makes one a disgusting human being. Period. There is a time and a place for everything, and people can either be narcissistic, self-absorbed garbage, or they can be civilized human beings.

It does matter that some people may have disliked your mother. Other people loved her, and they do not want to hear about those who hated her at her funeral. People who loathe the military, hate war, and despise soldiers in general, should understand that many people love these people, and they don’t want to hear the hatred at the anniversary of their collective funerals.

Respectful people can agree to disagree about the War in Iraq, and yes, even about all war. Disrespectful people spit on people’s graves, whether literally or figuratively. Even many of those who disagree with the Iraq War would concede that The Revolutionary War of 1776, the Civil War in 1861, and World War II in 1941 were noble endeavors. In fact, World War II is often referred to as “the good war.” Protesting on Memorial Day dishonors all of those soldiers. There is no distinction. Memorial Day is for all the soldiers who died, or for none of them.

Those who want to protest the week before or the week after, or any of the 360 days a year that do not fall on Memorial Day weekend, have plenty of time and ability to do so. It would be a strategic mistake politically, as well as a horrible act of wretchedness, to spend the one day reserved for heroes, and tarnishing it. For every soldier who may have disagreed with the mission that cost them their life, there are many more…let me say again…many more…soldiers that believed in what they were doing, and were accepting of the fact that their death came at the cost of a greater good.

We toss around words like “freedom” and “liberty” as if those are automatic in any society. They are not. American soldiers fought for them. They bled and died for them. It is reasonable to expect…nay, to demand…that we honor them by either providing beautiful tributes, or if unable to say anything positive, following our mothers’ advice and staying silent.

It is not patriotic to disrupt a funeral, or an anniversary of one. It is egomaniacal. If those who are against the Iraq War truly support the troops (which is odd since they despise their mission), they will leave well enough alone this weekend, and allow the deceased soldiers to rest in peace. After all, without them, there would be no peace at all. Soldiers fight wars so Americans can live in peace. It is time we return the favor for them.

May God bless the USA, and may every American soldier in every cemetery everywhere know that the world is a better place because of you. You are heroes, and America is the greatest nation on Earth because of you.

For those who want to go above and beyond, do not wait until Veteran’s Day to honor those who survived. Many fallen soldiers want their surviving brothers and sisters to be given the love and support they need and deserve. So to those who fought and survived…”May God Bless you as well. Thank you, and welcome home.”


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