Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of those holidays that nearly lost its meaning since they made Federal Holidays fall on Mondays (in 1971) so we could have extended weekends. It mainly signals the beginning of summer, with summer vacations starting somewhere near that time, with Labor Day, another Monday holiday, being the other goalpost of summer. It's a time when there are huge sales on everything imaginable, consumerism gets a big boost. The long weekend is also an opportunity to release movies that are expected to be summer blockbusters (with Star Wars back in 1977 setting the trend). The Indianapolis 500 happens. I think most people either have family gatherings and cookouts, get out on the waterways, go camping. We are no better. I used the opportunity of the Monday holiday to add a day or 2 vacation from my day job (just because I can) so that I can catch up on other work and maybe even have a few extra free hours here and there.

Memorial Day was originally intended to honor American Civil War dead but now is meant as a day to remember all dead soldiers regardless of the conflict. I don't see why it should be limited to American dead when so many people from so many nations have died fighting for our causes -- and the cause of all these deaths, when viewed from a larger perspective, is that people have answered a call of duty to defend their nation or homes from a perceived threat, and out of respect for their country and families, they do what they feel must be done. It is sometimes unavoidable to become involved as there are issues of self-defense and civil defense that are unresolved when the conflict arrives at your door.

I personally don't believe that it is possible for humans to not be at war with each other. I don't support war. I hate it and will never support it. But ever since our first ancestors formed tribes and created weapons we've been killing each other for land and power. There will be peace on earth when the planet becomes devoid of humans.

...and with that sad and cynical reflection, I have posted one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard that deals with the topic of war. From this band, most would prefer Brothers in Arms, but I give you Iron Hand, by Dire Straits (1.7 MB mp3)

With all the clarity of dream
The sky so blue, the grass so green
The rank and file and the navy blue
The deep and strong, the straight and true

The blue line they got the given sign
The belts and boots march forward in time
The wood and leather the club and shield
Swept like a wave across the battlefield

Now with all the clarity of dream
The blood so red, the grass so green
The gleam of spur on chestnut flank
The cavalry did burst upon the ranks

Oh the iron will and iron hand
In englands green and pleasant land
No music for the shameful scene
That night they said it had even shocked the queen

Well alas weve seen it all before
Knights in armour, days of yore
The same old fears and the same old crimes
We havent changed since ancient times


Anonymous said...

The reality is that there are cases for defense, there are people who would impose their will on others and so one's society can genuinely need protecting. That said, there is a huge difference between war and "just war". There is a difference between self defense and murder, too.

When we talk about war, what are we talking about now? Defense? Does this conflict really meet a criteria for defense?

It is a slim hope, but I do hope for a time when we will address the issue of 'just'appropriate aggression. I hope for a time when our uniformed men and women are not used as security for oil resources for the world's corporations. I hope for a time when we will see the error of making enemies, destroying trust, feeding hatred, and I hope that we can someday have a legal structure that allows citizens to hold elected representatives accountable.

We have impeachment- let's start there,I say!

Enjoy your time off.

Blueberry said...

I am replacing Shameless Agitator's comment with an identically-worded one from me, because it was making the comment window produce a password-prompt popup. Here's what it said:

Shameless Agitator said...

For various reasons, I’ve had to go under the radar for a while. Please email me for the password if you'd like to keep reading.

Mando Mama said...

Great post, perfect song for today. I agree: as long as we are human, humans will disagree and some of those disagreements will lead to inhumanity against each other.

Thanks for the tune.


Pam said...

There will be peace on earth when the planet becomes devoid of humans.

Sadly, that is true. And momma earth may be kicking us off sooner than we think.

Great song!

Peacechick Mary said...

I may be a cock-eyed optimist, but I'm hoping for some giant cosmic vacuum cleaner to swhoosh by and suck out all the aggressive tendencies and then we can have peace and harmony. Of course, that might be just as you suggested - it will suck out all the humans.

Blueberry said...

Climate change, overpopulation, food supply problems, drug-resistant viruses, nukes, bio weapons, carcinogens, mass extinctions, President Bush... AAAACK!!!

It's not good to ask "What next?" because you are sure to find out.