Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial day

Story.Famous.Kent.StMemorial Day is meant as a day to remember the soldiers who died in our nation's various wars. That roster has grown longer in the last few years, and we should remember and honor their sacrifice. This is a good day for taking stock of the mission being served by the people who will die in Iraq between now and the next Memorial Day.

I think it should also be a day to remember the people who have died in the fight against war. The protesters at Kent State, Dr. King, and Bobby Kennedy are the memorable ones. But countless people spent a life of service to their country and did so by working to avert wars and to end war that were unnecessary or detrimental to our nation and our world.

There have been people prepared to stand up against all of our nation's wars, some standing on the principle of opposing all war, others protesting the particulars of each conflict. These movements, like the wars they respond to, are judged by their own age and by history. The Civil War, which Memorial Day was created to commemorate, barely turned to success, and the victor's moral advantage hung by a thread. While the North's cause was clearly just, the tactics of each side left much to be desired. With the carnage on the forefront, it's easy to see how people could question the wisdom of that war, and one could hope that the union could have been preserved by mean less brutal than Sherman's march and the bloody battles at Gettysburg, Sharpesville and Petersburg.

Of course, the most famous such movement was the anti-war movement of the 1960s, and it was a conflict which brought too many domestic casualties. The people died for this country by standing against immoral wars deserve our memory today as well.