Memorial Day USA
Over the weekend I have been watching some of the remembrances and special programs for Memorial Day in the US. My fascination for history and political affairs keeps me watching .
I am a bit of a sentimental sap when it comes to the horrors of war and the sacrifices people, military and civilian, make during these dreadful human enterprises. I get quite weepy over them in spite of my personal disapproval of militarism and my commitment to pacifism and non-violent protest. War seems such a wasteful enterprise, of human and material treasure. It is seldom justified.
This does not denigrate the sacrifice some are willing to make when their government of the country calls, even when it is to support an illegal and criminal war of aggression such as the War in Iraq.
It is easier for me to look back to WWII, which may have been the last war, for which there is some honourable justification. In those years, the American's were reluctant to get involved in what they saw as a foreign European war. They did at last join in and did so whole heartedly and in the end probably guaranteed victory for the Allies. This could be debated as a good case could be that the Russians turned the tide in the war by defeating Germany in the East and chasing their army all the way back to Berlin. With the loss of 20 million people they certainly paid the price for victory.
But I digress!
It occured to me that little on TV was making reference to wars other than Iraq. Canada, on Remembrance Day (Armitice Day) is used to looking back to previous wars, as we have had little agressive war experience since WWII (and Korea). It has also been our tradition, until recently, to bury our dead in the countries in which they died. (Only recently, has Canada developed a National Military Cemetary.) Canada's fallen are in places like France and the Netherlands. In these places, there are many cemetaries lovingly maintained.
The US has such cemetaries as well and it is too bad that there is not more reference to them on Memorial Day. It seems Iraq is all consuming. I found this article on Radio Netherlands web site with is worth reading. Memorial Day at Margraten: conflicts past and present - Radio Netherlands Worl Here is the website for Marraten Cemetary Gemeente Margraten - American War Cemetry.
I also just discovered that On June 6 there will be the opening of a new US memorial in Normandy. American Battle Monuments Commission2 This is a similar effort to Canada recent creation of the Juno Beach Memorial. Juno Beach Centre - Canada's Second World War Museum in France I encourage you to view the video in this website American Battle Monuments Commission.
Perhaps, there will be some significant coverage of the Normandy event next month and thereby remembering the American sacrifice made there.