Human societies, despite our enviable enthusiasms, despite the processes we establish and the sheer amount of stuff we make, are just not perfect. Not even close. War, poverty, disease, oppression. Don’t worry, I know that’s not wisdom. It’s just context. Because I believe in my heart that each person is perfect in their nature, and should be cared for in life, and mourned at death. No matter ideology, we can remember those who died in battle, those who mourn them at home, and those who return changed by what they went through.
I remember my step-uncle, who came home from Vietnam troubled, and am sorry for his family. I am sorry for my father’s losses, his father and brother both dying in World War II when he was, as they say, just a boy. I would have liked to have known them both.
I consider myself a patriot. A liberal patriot. And I am committed to that position. I come back from travel every time so fond of our country and what we try to stand for. On Memorial Day, and I have to say this, I hope so devoutly that we can as a society and a form of life, move past the need to end eachother’s lives.
I understand that those who fight can be heroes. They are all braver than I. I also hope that our concept of heroism continues to widen past armed conflict. Until then, for anyone who has ever fought or lost a loved one to war, it’s Memorial Day. Let us remember.