Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010


Forgive my lack of commentary over the past months, but I felt that today, Memorial Day 2010, was deserving at the minimum a few words.

I have the utmost respect for those who have lost their lives, empathy for those families that were torn apart, and bittersweet relieve that my heart has not yet, and hopefully will not, experience the stress and strains of war first hand.

Thankfully, as a country, we have not yet lost that basic instinct that reflects my feelings stated above. Those stopped on the streets, have no yet lost all sense of virtue and valor, and regardless of if the war is the right war, the immeasurable amount of damage, both physically and collaterally, caused by the deaths of thousands. We have not yet become so cold and hardened by the constant barrage of violence, that we are so often blind to, in our everyday life, and war, however now more liberally, is still a term capable of evoking the strongest of human emotions.

Although it is saddening in it's own right, to quote myself, "have not yet lost all sense of virtue and valor....have not yet become so cold and hardened". Foreshadowing a discouraging future for ourselves filled without feeling or empathy. It is not what is truly saddening about today.

A memorial is defined as "something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday." The fact that over decades of gruesome bloodshed, countless deaths, and immeasurable destruction, requires a specific day to remember, is troubling. Even worse, when the time of year rolls around when we are selfishly asked to take but a moment of our time and set it aside, what we remember, what is in memorandum is not the men who have lost their lives, but rather dormant memories stirred up, of faceless wars, and nameless victims. We are more likely to remember a significant news reel clip of an air raid, than the name of a neighbor down the street who perished in the perils of war.

In today's society, with information moving at a remarkable speed, and social media replacing face to face interaction, a person's death is more likely to become a face book group, joined by friends, with a few wall posting, and after sometime only but the closest remain, if that, because when we must highlight our interests, a group for lost fans trumps a group of a fallen soldier. This is sadly, an at best case scenario.

If any good is to come from Memorial Day, it is that we must truly remember that war dose come at a cost, but not at the cost of rebuilding a torn down city, and that it is not a faceless war. War comes at the cost of thousands of lives, and each one of those people had a name, a face, an entire life. We need to remember that somewhere a little girl's father will not be reading her a bedtime story, an engagement will never be turned into a marriage, and even the most mundane to some, a jig-saw puzzle may never have the final few pieces put in.

We go through our ever increasingly busy lives, tweeting about what we've had for breakfast, and doing the most trivial of tasks, while ignoring, through ignorance or choice, the reasons why we're able to do just that. What we don't realize is that there are those who are plucked out of the daily grind of life, and inserted into hell. Those who return often are failed to be honored, and must attempt to assimilate back into "life" as if they were never gone, while those, who some would argue have the better of fortunes, don't return only to have their memory lost amongst the other faceless casualties.

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