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Nothing About this Memorial Day is Normal

LatinaLista — This Monday is Memorial Day. Yet, too many of us only know it as one of those rare 3-day holidays from work.
Most don’t really know what the holiday stands for, except it may have something to do with our country and patriotism, like the 4th of July. That deduction comes from all the red, white and blue-themed shopping circulars in today’s newspapers or the mini flags stuck on street corners.

But ask somebody not schooled in history or older than 50, and chances are the only answer will be a shrug of the shoulders and a half-hearted attempt to even think up a less-than-stupid answer.

A lot of people don’t know the history of Memorial Day — that it was originally called Decoration Day, officially proclaimed in 1856 or that it is supposed to be a time when we remember all those who have died “in our nation’s service.”
It used to be people thought of Memorial Day as a time to remember those servicewomen and men who fought in wars that, to most of us, were a long time ago.
For whatever reason, as a nation, we’re not doing a very good job remembering the servicepeople who are fighting right now in Iraq and Afghanistan — and dying.

As of yesterday, the non-profit web site, Iraq Coalition Casualties Count, dedicated to keeping track of how many servicepeople’s lives are being lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, report that 3,452 US men and women have died.
The site breaks down the deaths and wounded casualties by ethnicity, hometown, etc. A quick scan of the list reveals that an overwhelming majority of those who died were less than 35 years of age.
Too many were under the age of 21.
Yet, we go on with our lives as if this is normal.
Losing servicepeople in numbers like this is not normal. Families losing their young sons and daughters on a daily basis half a world away is not normal.
For us all to be so detached from this war, should not be normal.
For us to accept the explanation that this country is at war with us without proof of it, is not normal.
For us to keep feeding our future generations to a gun battle that will never have an end, and is fueled more by hate between the citizens of that country than for our own soldiers, is not normal.
For us to resign ourselves to the fact that this war is normal — is not normal.

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  • yave begnet
    May 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    A major war once every 10-15 years with non-American casualties some large multiple of U.S. casualties–this is unfortunately all too normal.
    It’s also considered normal, a few times each year, to celebrate Americans who have gone abroad and killed and died on behalf of the rest of us. I’ll never understand what service was provided to our nation by our actions in Vietnam or now in Iraq, but I suppose it’s better not to ask too many questions about the beliefs and assumptions that underlie the ongoing American military project. We wouldn’t want to stand in the way of the next war to give our children something to remember on Memorial Day.

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