Memorial Day – Remembering Heroes, Neglecting their Grief…
It’s either a huge paradox or a gargantuan irony on Memorial Day – As much as we make them heroes, we are off the hook and can neglect their wounds, fears, losses, and grief. Perhaps this is the reverse-undertow that subtle-like has moved our nation (generalizing here, obviously) from whatever depths we may have been in – to the shallows.
We no longer are privy to photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, wherever. We are barred, for whatever reasons, from seeing families grieve their daughters or sons. The more significant moments of life have been stolen from us, leaving the shell of what the government and the media refer to as “heroes.”
Who hears the stories from vets about their grief and guilt at losing a buddy, members of their patrol, of their platoons? They have been reduced to two dimensional cutouts trotted out on several days of the year to help us feel grateful for their service. Then where do they go?
We don’t see senators, governors, congress folk, or such grieve their sons or daughters. It’s the poor who serve for the most part. They are treated as expendable, unlike the more favored.
Nor do we as a nation grieve the dead, the limbless, those suffering PTSD, those who grieve their buddies. We don’t join them, we objectify soldiers to protect ourselves from the cost so many of them pay.
Finally, we refuse, it seems, to grieve those who died for their people. “The Enemy” has been objectified and dehumanized as well. We despise them. We kill them. We forget their dead as well as our own.
For God’s sake, let us remember, make memorial, hold dear in our hearts the dead soldiers whose service allows us to forget them and the price they have paid.