As a life long anti-war activist who comes from a family with a long history of military service, I struggle with Memorial Day. I find it uncomfortable to celebrate war in any manner.
But that doesn’t diminish my gratitude for those who have the courage to make the sacrifice to serve. So for all those families out there today mourning their war dead, my heart breaks for you. Though we can’t possibly share the depth of your pain, we all share your loss. Our world is a poorer place for the tragic deaths of your loved ones who served and paid the ultimate price.
Similarly, I’m grateful for all those who fought to protect us and survived to come home. That’s a debt we can never fully repay. And for those who survived but came home broken, I apologize that we don’t as a society take care of you as well as we should. If I knew how to change that, I certainly would.
Also thanks to all our troops who are currently on active duty. I hope and pray that you all survive your tours and return to your families undamaged in body and mind. Though it may not seem so, I honor you all every single day, not with a parade, but by working to end wars so your job description can be described in one word, peacekeeper, and the only time you have to shoot a gun is at the military funeral of a soldier who died of simple old age after a life well and happily lived.
(This post is dedicated to Michael Fratto, the first friend I lost in a war. In our last moments together, he sang me a Joe Cocker song. Still cry whenever I hear it. May he rest in peace.)