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A Jo'Rneyman's Song --- William River Pitt, Thoughts on Memorial Day


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, children, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, freedoms, humans, obituary, politics, religion, rights, society, violence, WAR )

Kit
- 941 days ago - truth-out.org
For tomorrow we laugh and tomorrow we cry - Tomorrow we dance and tomorrow we die - And tomorrow you will be my yesterday song - And I would die richer for having you known....



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Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 1:25 pm

His name was Ryan J. Wilson. He was from California, 26 years old, and he died on the 20th of May serving in the Afghanistan war. According to the Department of Defense, Ryan J. Wilson was the 3,000th member of the coalition forces fighting that war, and the 1,974th American, to die since it began a decade ago.

We still don't do body counts - we do drones by the score, but not body counts - so I can't tell you how many Afghani soldiers and civilians have also died over these last ten years. I can't tell you their names, how old they were, or where they came from. I wish I could, but since that information is not available due to reasons of national security and stuff, I thought you should have at least one name to dwell on over this long, relaxing weekend.

His name was Ryan J. Wilson. He was 26, from California, and I will never get to meet him and thank him for his service.
****

By William Rivers Pitt OpEd| Truthout|
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 1:29 pm

I have pondered this question for many years. I think it struck me first in Hawaii when I visited the Arizona, my husband was on R&R from his first tour in Vietnam. Then I saw THE WALL, the question again came to me, do we build these memorials to remember or forget?

Do we really honor those sweet young lives that know little of this world, but believe in the patriotic propaganda or are we actually encouraging the next generation to march off to yet another war of choice.

A war that gains nothing but profit for the war profiteers, while soldiers die and those who do not die, live with out limbs, or are left fully para-or quadriplegic - those who suffer a life time with PTSD.

I know I would feel much better if rather then bumper stickers, we began to supports these young lives with life-long medical care, with real programs of education and job placement. We do not, I find I am one of few that makes regular trips to the VA hospital; I can do little but listen and try to be friend.

I cry for the memory of the lost lives, I cry for those who have fallen but still live. I am saddened that after all the death and destruction we still hunger for war. For Memorial day I remember that we have still not learned the savage lessons of war.
 

Laurie S. (73)
Monday May 28, 2012, 1:34 pm
Thanks!!
 

. (0)
Monday May 28, 2012, 1:54 pm
Both the US and the UK have lost too many of our young people in the recent wars in both Afganistan and in Iraq - I still have difficulty understanding why either of our countries have involved ourselves in these wars.
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 2:02 pm

Because of profit, Howard. It's simple and yet, so very complicated.
 

Jacqueline H. (9)
Monday May 28, 2012, 2:03 pm
THAT'S SO SAD BUT TRUE. WAR NEVER SOLVES ANYTHING. I SERVED IN THE US ARMY FOR 4 YRS AND 1 YR IN THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD. I SPENT TIME IN KOREA AND IT WAS DIFFERENT. MY HUSBAND IS A RETIRED MARINE. I KNOW WHAT JUST BEING IN THE MILITARY DOING PEACE TIME IS HARD I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE BEING IN A WAR. THE CLOSET I CAME WAS THE SKIRMAGE IN KOREA. THAT WAS A SCARY TIME BUT I SURVIVED. UNFORTUNATELY A LOT OF KIDS DIDN'T COME BACK FROM THIS LAST WAR THAT DIDN'T NEED TO HAPPEN. THAT WAR WAS STARTED ON FALSE PRETENSES. WE WERE SUPPOSEDLY LOOKING FOR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION WHICH TO THIS DAY STILL HAVEN'T BEEN FOUND. I THINK WE SHOULD TRY TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO AIR OUR DIFFERENCES AND I AGREE THE UNITED STATES NEEDS TO TAKE CARE OF IT'S OWN BEFORE THEY GO HELP OTHERS. WE NEED TO MIND OUR BUSINESS.
 

Barbara K. (75)
Monday May 28, 2012, 2:07 pm
Thanks, my dear friend. We have lost much in these 2 wars in lives, limbs and treasure. Can anyone tell me what we have gained?
 

Dandelion G. (384)
Monday May 28, 2012, 2:28 pm
Thanks Kit, I noted, but no can do, is too close to my own son's age, 24, who is serving....I just can't watch.
 

Michela m. (3954)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:03 pm
I AM AGAINST WHATEVER KIND OF WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

I DO NOT CONCEIVE WARS!!!!!!!

WARS ARE ALWAYS MADE FOR ECONOMICAL INTERESTS!!!!!!!!!! EVEN IF THEY "SEEM" HAVING a RELIGIOUS, "ETHICAL", "HUMANITARIAN" REASON/PRINCIPLE/JUSTIFICATION/PURPOSE........
..... (??)

MONEY, MONEY, POWER, .........

 

Alice C. (1797)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:11 pm
Shared ~ Thank you Kit.
 

Val R. (254)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:47 pm
Thanks Kit - it is all too sad for me.
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, I'm sorry I can't send out Green Stars to most of you, many of these comments are so personal they touch me.
 

Mariette G. (152)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:53 pm
This is so sad! Thanks for sharing Kit!
 

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Monday May 28, 2012, 4:25 pm
I believe that a" just" war can occasionally rid the world of a great evil as was done in World War Two. But our foreign policy of at least the last 50 years has been unfocused and haphazard to say the least. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been poorly planned and I can't imagine FDR or Truman allowing the incredible amount of blunders, scandals, and corruption that has taken place in the last ten years. It is true that Obama inherited this mess from Bush, but I am not impressed with the President's effort to bring about a good outcome for all of the sacrifices that our troops have made.
 

Phil R. (29)
Monday May 28, 2012, 5:19 pm
What was the origin of Memorial Day?
"David W. Blight described the day: "This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the War had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 5:21 pm

Thanks Phil, now that's a Memorial Day we can really celebrate.
 

Ms Carol Brown (48)
Monday May 28, 2012, 6:53 pm
This is so sad!
 

LaurenAWAY Kozen (163)
Monday May 28, 2012, 7:12 pm
Sadly noted. Thanks for posting Kit.
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 8:02 pm

This was in my inbox from John Cause - please read:


An American history lesson:


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your Memorial Day holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Memorial Day has more to it than beer, picnics and travel...
 

Charles O. (209)
Monday May 28, 2012, 8:57 pm
Justin Raimondo (28 May 2012) advises us to abolish Memorial Day:

> When memory goes, what is there to memorialize?

> We might as well get rid of Memorial Day, for all the good it does us. Originally “Decoration Day,” the last Monday in May has been the designated time for us to remember the war dead and honor their sacrifice – while, perhaps, taking in the lessons of the many conflicts that have marked our history as a free nation. In line with the modern trend of universal trivialization, however, the holiday has been paganized to mark the beginning of summer, when we get out the barbecue grill and have the neighbors over for hamburgers and beer. As for contemplating the meaning of the day in the context of our current and recent wars, that is left to those few pundits who pay attention to foreign policy issues, or else to writers of paeans to the “Greatest Generation” – World War II being the only modern war our panegyrists deign to recall, since it is relatively untouched by the ravages of historical revisionism.

> Indeed, as far as our wars are concerned, the very concept of historical memory has vanished from the post-9/11 world. It seems the earth was born anew on September 11, 2001, and only ragged remnants of our mystified past – mostly from World War II and the Civil War – survived the purge. In the new version our victories are exaggerated and glorified, while our defeats – e.g. Vietnam, Korea, our nasty little covert wars in Central and South America – are not even mentioned, let alone considered in depth.

Raimondo then goes on to remind us of some of the things that we now erase from our memories, not just on "Memorial Day" but every day. Here is Raimondo's conclusion:

> To recall past wars is to recall their folly, and no one wants to be reminded of their moral and cognitive shortcomings: so we resort to mythology that valorizes the victors and paints the defeated in various shades of black – and when that’s not possible, amnesia is our last resort.

> So I say: let’s rid ourselves of Memorial Day, and at least be honest with ourselves in this one instance. Let’s acknowledge we’d much rather forget our history of mass murder, and rename the last Monday in May in honor of some pagan holiday – because Memorial Day is an oxymoron in a nation of amnesiacs.

. .

It's exactly as Kit B. indicates. The "memorial" exists to wipe the slate clean, so that we can do it all over again, awash in fresh ignorance, blithely repeating the same mistakes that were used to mangle and maim the previous wave of mindless cannon fodder.

+( Theirs not to reason why // Theirs but to do and die, )+ -- Tennyson, "Charge of the Light Brigade"
 

Terrie Williams (773)
Monday May 28, 2012, 9:48 pm
Thank you, Kit.

As some have said, this is not a day for burgers and beer. This is a day to remember the fallen who have died in rich men's wars of resource and plunder. There have only been but a few wars in ALL of history that were at least justied in occurring. Most were not. But men and women die in both and nothing we can say or do will ever bring them back again. Or mend their families, or heal a forever mentally scarred soldier who is doomed to replay those grisly events over and over in his/her head -- forever. No, there is not much of anything we can say in gratitude or in empathy or in remembrance to ever thank the fallen enough.

So, the majority of America chooses to see this day not of one to reflect and wonder why so many gave so much for so few who are so untouched by it all. They do not realize that one day possibly, it might be them, or worse their sons and daughters, who must defend this country in either a war for profit or a war for our very way of life, our real freedoms. So they see this day as a celebration of the coming summer. Well programmed are we not as a society so divorced from the ravages of war.

Me, I do not go to picnics or gatherings of mirth on this day. Never have. I understand what this day means. My father was a 30-year career Marine and served his country 5 times in 2 wars with honor. He was one of the lucky ones, though each time he came home there were a few more bayonet scars and bullet holes scared over. More shrapnel carried around to set the airport senors off. More ghosts carried within his eyes and his spirit. He is gone now but never forgotten.

Yes, I know what this day means.
 

Jason S. (57)
Monday May 28, 2012, 10:04 pm
thanks
 

Caitlin Mac Iver (103)
Monday May 28, 2012, 11:28 pm
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.
This is such a good article. Thanks for posting your favorite guy again today, Kit. He said it all for me, that's for sure, and so did you. I just wish these times they were a-changin' enough to stop the senseless killing of our young people. When will we ever learn?
 

Sue D. (150)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 1:40 am
Well spoken, Kit. All the comments here are thoughtful and sincere. Some really do recognize Memorial Day as a tribute to ALL the men & women who have served our country and those who gave their lives and more. The people who serve are deserving of our respect, not for the wars, but for their sacrifice for the many and this United States of America established by our forefathers and unlike any other. I hope that people will see that our Constitution and Bill of Rights are what they intend to defend - not oil, International Corporations, Bankers and Elite but the people that these documents intended to protect.
 

Harshiita Sharma (137)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 2:31 am
Noted.
 

wendy webber (28)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 2:38 am
Kit,,,thanks for the article.Memorial Day has always made me feel sad.I liked what Phil had to say about the day.I think it was Albert Einstein that said "you cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war"...not sure if I got the quote exactly right but I do know I got the right meaning.I was active in the protests of the 70's with the Viet Nam war and did an overnight in one of DC's finest jails (not) I was even beaten up by the cops while inside and suffered some broken bones...I was pregnant and miscarried after that trauma..when I sat in that cell crying I thought about Angela Davis, people shot in the back,young people who could not even vote or have a drink (legally) that were being shipped back to the states in body bags.I have been to the Vietnam War Memorial and I still get goose flesh when I visualize that monument which visually seems to go on forever...into infinity.I still cry but more importantly I feel angry and disappointed that we still put so much energy into destruction instead of reconstruction, that we still push domination over cooperation.In the naivete that enveloped my 20's I thought wars would end...I still do whatever I can to deflate that entire method of instilling "peace in the land".
 

Charles O. (209)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 7:48 am
I can't tell you how much I admire you, wendy w..

Wars WOULD end -- would have ended long ago -- if we had one in a hundred or one in a thousand Americans with your courage and commitment.

Many Americans continue to recite the mindless mantra about "Fighting for Freedom" -- dying, killing, sacrificing our sons and daughters, our treasure and our rights, all for "Freedom". They are willing to have other Americans "Die for Freedom" or "Kill for Freedom", but they are not willing to LIVE for freedom themselves

And what sort of "Freedom" results from all of this vicarious dying and killing?

* the "Freedom" to be beaten by the cops,
* the "Freedom" to have our bones broken,
* the "Freedom" to miscarry,
* the "Freedom" to go to prison.

. .

> I feel angry and disappointed that we still put so much energy into destruction instead of reconstruction, that we still push domination over cooperation.

The cult of domination and destruction is ruinous: This country is headed for the bottom, pulled down by our addiction to war-making. I think we will reach that bottom in the next few years.

THEN we will finally need people like you. THEN we will finally begin to hear what you are telling us. Our eyes and ears will finally open.

Your anger will help us to understand what went wrong and how to set it right. Someday, we will memorialize activists like YOU, people of conscience who have struggled to return us to the path of sanity and decency, people who are not afraid to LIVE for freedom.
 

Chien Chao (105)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 8:21 am
thank you for yours!
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 8:27 am

Yes, Wendy I do remember only too well, though I was not arrested in DC, many friends were, I could not avoid the fire hoses, people that did not protest in those days thought it was just water, it can easily break the skin. I felt torn between two worlds, my husband was fighting in Vietnam because he believed, I was fighting against the war because I did not and because I did believe that Martin Luther King Jr did hold the answers for real peace and honesty in this country. How can we talk of peace or honor when hold anyone less able to access the Civil Rights granted by our Constitution. I do wish John Adams had listened to his wife and included the words all men and all women regardless of station.

So no, as Terrie said, this is not a time to celebrate, but it is a time to remember that following our leaders down a path of war, resolves nothing but does steal the beautiful youth of our country.

Well said Charles - thank you all for your comments. In so few words William Rivers Pitt expressed the pain I think we all feel for the loss we suffer because of war. Phil offered us a new way of seeing Memorial day, a way to remember that slavery had to end and that should be ceremonialized. We can all love the soldier, and still hate the war.

Freedom is slipping through our fingers, and we, all Americans must find our way to return that freedom from the government to the people. A bloodless revolution, a revolution of the mind and heart.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 8:33 am
Can't send you another star, Kit, but you and everyone who posted here deserves a shower of 'em -
Wars are no longer about freedom or human rights but only about profit and power. That old saying about "to the victor goes the spoils" is certainly true - IF we win a war, we get what? A huge loss of human life, heartache for widows and orphans, memories of misery, and a huge trickle down effect that ranges from the after-effects of things like Agent Orange to PTSD. Ah, but there is no profit in peace....
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 12:58 pm
Noted and recommended on facebook. Thanks, Kit.
 

Yvonne White (233)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 7:35 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.
"Those were the days my friend,
We thought they'd never end,
We'd sing & dance forever and a day..
We'd live the life we choose
we'd fight & never lose
for we were young & sure to have our way..."
 

Patricia H. (454)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 7:22 am
sadly noted
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 10:58 am
Thanks for posting this Kit.

 

Nancy C. (812)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 4:23 am
I had John's inbox info too. A stirring reminder of the conflict we were built on. Here's to the Americans..."Are we not entertained? Of course we are. This is America. One death is a tragedy. Five is a massacre. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths? That's just foreign policy, and a bitchin' video game, and nine dollars at the multiplex on Friday night. " Somethin's gotta give. They can't lock us all up...or can they.
 
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