I’m a pacifist. My favorite bumpersticker, which I now proudly sport on my Forester, says “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”. From my point of view the US has been involved in exactly one war worth entering in the last 75 years – World War II.
Still, I think it is important to honor those who have died in service to their country and community on Memorial Day. I think we should expand it to honoring fallen police officers, firefighters – anyone who died trying to protect others.
Just because I don’t agree (STRONGLY don’t agree) with the wars of the past 60+ years doesn’t negate that others may not feel the same. I don’t feel that the soldiers who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, et al died to save or instill democracy. From my view they died over oil.
But that doesn’t matter.
Serving interests outside of oneself is worthy. Dying in the pursuit of that service – whatever it may be – is the ultimate sacrifice and should be honored.
So I can honor the fallen on Memorial Day and honor our country’s veterans on Veterans Day without agreeing with the political decisions that caused them to go to war. I can honor the intent that these men and women had. Honor their brand of patriotism (even when it’s not my brand). And be thankful that there are brave men and women who are willing to protect our country, when and if it actually needs to be protected.
It took me awhile to separate those viewpoints.
So this Memorial Day, amidst the motorcycle riding, barbecues and hiking with friends, I WILL pause to pray for those who have lost their lives in service of this country (or their hometown – including police officers and firefighters). I will pray for their families. And I will be grateful.
Happy Memorial Day everyone. Don’t forget what it is actually about!