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Memorial Day Reflections

Perhaps it is time we not only remember those who have died in the wars from our own country, but from others.

For if we see the damage done, and to who it is done, viz., the poorer and middle classes of all warring nations, we will finally recognize that all these wars have been constructed by the wealthy and powerful to preserve and bolster their own interests.

To honor the war dead is a part of the ploy to get our minds off of those who sent them there. It is to be the analgesic to comfort our pain and numb our conscience so that we never truly recognize that the soldier is but a pawn in a geo-political game of deepening the pockets of the rich and expanding the powers of governments and militaries — all in the name of patriotism and national loyalty that promotes tribalistic allegiances.

It is no coincidence that these solemn remembrances are promoted by the “tribal leaders” (e.g., dictators, presidents, governing bodies, military leaders, weapons manufacturers, financing institutions, etc.) who furthermore try to convince us that they really care about us and our war dead. They are the ones who continue to profit so long as our minds are focused on commemorating the “sacrifices” and not asking why they were really sacrificed.

If we remembered on our memorial days not just the “sacrificial and heroic” deaths of those who served and died in war, but the exploitative conditions by which they were sent by those who were to gain political clout and economic power whether those soldiers lived or died, then perhaps we would would wakeup from the madnesses that are war and militarism and refuse to kill other people who are being used just like we are.

Religion teaches us that we are all made equal in worth from one Creator, which makes us all siblings of one another. We are to love, not kill, our brothers and sisters. This, of course, is not in the economic and political interests of those who want to rule others rather than have a truly egalitarian society as Jesus had with his disciples and proposed for the world.

What if instead of being complicit with the interests of the ruling class by memorializing those who were manipulated into enlistment, and then taught how to dehumanize and kill their different brothers and sisters, now regarded as enemies, that we instead remembered that we are all equals and ought to treat one another as we’d like to be treated? What if we refused to buy into the fears prospered by the powers that be that if we don’t do this then we will be ruled by others who do not have our interests in mind — which is really no different from what we have now? What if we ourselves refused to become the killers we despise by saying no to participating in war and militarism?

We know from history that those who have considered their loyalty to God and morality above nation and politics have been met with persecution, imprisonment, and even death — which should be evidence that the ruling class really does not have our interests at heart, and are certainly willing to do to us what they claim “the enemy” will do to us.

Maybe we need to rethink memorial day, veterans day, and armed services day themselves — to stop glorifying the wars being “served” when war never serves the values of mutual love, respect, and equality of worth and dininity of all humanity regardless of nationality.

The only thing sadder than those precious souls who died on all sides for causes they had falsely been led to believe were just is for us to continue ourselves to perpetuate an ideology that presumes that any war is just. For continuing to dismiss the real reasons of war will only send more generations to the slaughter at the behest and for the behalf of those whose desire to accumulate and dominate outweighs their concerns for their fellow siblings.

Rev. Bret S. Myers, 5/28/2018

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