Let's consider Memorial Day


To the editor:

Here come the parades, the barbecues, the flying of the flag, the speeches, the fireworks — all celebrating those who have fought and have died.

It depresses me, for Memorial Day should be a day of mourning, not celebration.

But how do I best describe how I feel? I think Chris Hedges said it best in June 2018, “The soldier’s tale is as old as war. It is told, and then forgotten. There are always young men and women ardent for glory, seduced by the power to inflict violence, and naïve enough to die for the merchants of death.”

Indeed, our celebrations are not for those who died or came back broken in body and/or mind. The celebrations are for the myriad arms contractors that have raked in upward of trillions of dollars since in pursuit of our endless wars, starting with the inception of this country to the present.

How many know the number of years the United States has been at war? Still better, try this: Since 1776 up to the present, for how many years has the United States not been at war? And how can we say that the soldiers fighting, dying, being injured are doing it to protect us? Against what? Against whom?

It does not compute.

I do not remember that Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Cuba, the teeny-tiny island of Grenada, and so forth ad infinitum ever threatened to attack or invade us.

It is not fair that so many young men and women are sold a distorted bill of goods to get them to enlist in something they know so little about.

On Memorial Day, as we think about those who have served, let us hope and pray that the time will come, in the not-too-distant future, when there will not be a need to send our young people to fight wars of choice, that leave our men and women broken in mind and body, and the people of those distant lands dead, mangled, homeless, desperate, and asking themselves, “Why?”

Irene Diaz-Reyes

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Irene Diaz-Reyes,