Ending War is the Only Fitting Tribute to the Fallen

For the benefit of you who don't know me, I'm a military veteran. I served two tours in Vietnam. I have had comrades die in my presence, one in my arms. Like many of my fellow vets, I became unalterably opposed to war by the very act of helping prosecute it. Not all veterans draw that conclusion. That is their right. As it is my right to voice opposition to state-sponsored violence.

With that background and caveat, let me commend to you the audio posted by my friend Tony Seton yesterday on his SetonNotes audio blog. Responding to the hue and cry of the Right Wing that President Obama was unpatriotic in his decision to spend Memorial Day in Chicago with his family rather than pontificating at Arlington National Cemetery, Tony recorded a sad and insightful commentary on the matter. His own summary reads, "There seems to be some confusion between the idea of showing our profound respect and gratitude and the equally powerful tearful courage that calls on our better selves to rise up against the carnage of strangers killing strangers."

I don't know if Tony's a vet. I don't really care if he is. His views on this topic are sound and wise. Humanity is on the verge of extinction. If we don't kill ourselves off with bullets, we'll do it with poison through global warming. The time for nationalism and parochialism is long since past. As a race, we must unite against a deadly common foe: our own ignorance and fear that keep us killing each other off while the larger invading army of climate crisis marches us inexorably to our death.

We can do this. But we first must want to do this. That we become so willing is my Memorial Day prayer.

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