by Dub Riley
Memorial Day was first proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30 of that year, 142 years ago--today. General Logan enacted the ceremony to put flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. In memory of the brutal fight between North and South, Memorial Day was declared.
Of course now, we have adopted the cry to honor those who have fallen in service to our country. Brave men and women who fight and die deserve to be remembered. There is no "but" nor "and" to the story. We do, however, owe it to future generations to stand in the way of governments, near or far, or here at home, so that brave young men and women are not led to war which can and should be avoided.
I flinch at poems and slogans that proclaim that we wouldn't have our freedom, were it not for our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afganistan. Does "support our troops" mean that we should show gratitude for soldiers who are fighting and dying for control of world resources? These young people are put in harms way without being told the truth. And I will be labeled a traitor and worse for reminding all people that the principles of our great nation are based on my right to seek the truth and to speak it.
Might I be objecting to the fact that soldiers are fighting and dying for reasons unrelated to our freedoms? Yes, my brothers and sisters, and I address you as such if you are human, from any country, in any costume, of any color, under any regime, whether you point a gun at me or consider me a friend.
Is it possible that we "support our troops" by arguing that they belong at home and we support their families by insisting that they be removed from harms way? Is such an argument unpatriotic?
Is it patriotic to argue this statement--
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
People of the world. Bury your dead and remember them kindly. But don't be led blindly by the pursuit of governments, meeting the call of corporations, to disguise their ambitions as noble, while their flagrant disregard for people and planet shows plainly by the catastrophes which surround us.
Listen to the wisdom of this Indian elder. Does he sound different than leaders who lead the fight on our left or right? Maybe we should return to common sense. Is it common sense that we drop bombs and rain down fire upon villages with women and children because men in uniform in some secret room have determined that it is right strategy? Is it common sense that we believe them over our own instincts to protect our young men and women? Is it common sense that by sending our young men and women to drop bombs on women and children that we protect our freedoms? Which freedom is being threatened by these women and children, or even by their men? What if their men are simply protesting that we have men in uniform conspiring against them?