I have no shortage of respect and admiration for the kinds of courage and inner strength (not to mention the often amazing physical feats) it takes to be a soldier in the military- any military.  Fighting in wars, though it’s obviously easy enough to pick-apart the reasons and tactics of such things, requires a degree of personal fortitude that- believe it or not- I have a certain soft spot for.  All the same, the wars of aggression and imperialism and ideology and domination and resources that dominate the history books (and today’s headlines) are can mostly be simplified into the category of ‘idiotic’ and the national holidays we have to celebrate them- Memorial Day and Veterans Day- have never given me a feeling much more than one akin to a blackfly in my ear or nose.

But it turns out that Memorial Day actually began as something that I find pretty endearing and meaningful, and precious.  From Commondreams.org:

Memorial Day, it turns out, is yet another hijacked holiday. It was first observed in 1865 as Decoration Day by liberated slaves, who independently set up, decorated and proclaimed an ad-hoc graveyard to honor dead Union soldiers.

How ’bout that?  The spontaneous honoring of liberating forces by real, independent people?  Much more stomachable than American flags and brain-dead assertions about ‘duty’ and ‘honor’ and ‘love of country’.

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