Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day: Conflicting Moods

Memorial Day uneasily juxtaposes two conflicting moods. For many it is a time of travel, entertainment, vacation, tasting the outdoor life, and generally having fun. Yet is is a somber occasion for all reflective Americans as we remember those who have lost their lives in all the many wars of the past and present. In 2007 outrage is the only appropriate sentiment. It would have been fitting to have hundreds of thousands of people in cities and towns across the nation expressing their intense anger at the tragic catastrophe in Iraq. The heartbreaking story of a young woman prostrate at her fiance's grave in deep, inconsolable grief epitomizes the situation -- the needless loss of life in a war so unjustified and so badly managed that no way out exists that will not produce more death, destruction, and mangled bodies in an atmosphere of terror.

Yet we seem strangely complacent in the face of this horror. Perhaps sit is because the burden of loss is directly experienced by the few families immediately affected by the shattered bodies and minds and the increasing number of dead soldiers returned to their sorrowing loved one. Meanwhile, the rest of us go on with our lives essentially untouched. There is something badly wrong with a picture in which the human costs of war are not shared by us all. That only compounds the awful debacle of the Iraq mess.


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