Memorial Day: The Prettification of War

My War Memorials

Memorial Day Alternative


Celebrating Militarism and the Weapons of War

By Camillo "Mac" Bica

Sadly, Americans need to be reminded that Memorial Day is not about sales at the mall, barbecues, and picnics. Neither is it a time to celebrate militarism, the machinery of war, or entice young people, through highly manipulative and deceptive practices, into enlisting in the military.


Corporatizing and Militarizing Memorial Day for "Fun" and Profit

Camillo "Mac" Bica, Truthout: "Since the beginning of the 20th century, some 650,000 Americans have died fighting this country's many wars. Regardless of political affiliation and ideology, every American ought reverence such selfless sacrifice and understand and share the grief that this tragic loss of life entails. Though those of us who have known war hear the cries of the dying forever in our mind and suffer the pain and loss each day of our lives and need no holiday to remind us, Memorial Day is the occasion our nation sets aside to remember, to grieve and to honor those who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of 'freedom.'"

A Veteran Speaks Out about Being "Un-American" on Memorial Day

Michael Gass, Truthout: "Memorial Day is more than simply a day for honoring our fallen soldiers; it is also about remembering the ideals for which they gave their lives. Right-wing pundits and politicians have tossed out the term 'un-American' for decades, but in case you think they have cornered the market on the term 'un-American,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Hoyer recently used it when they wrote about the health care reform protests. They wrote, 'Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.'"


Reflections on Rolling Thunder

by Kelley B. Vlahos


It is all too clear why we can’t seem to protest our way out of this war. And as a result, the war itself may never end. In fact, Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently suggested that ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in Afghanistan may be just that — ‘enduring’ — for a very, very long time. But what is just as important as what the generals say is what the public says, and after spending time with Rolling Thunder over the Memorial Day weekend, it is clear that the national identity is still so dependent on the military and war and the iconography of sacrifice, that to penetrate it with a message of anything otherwise continues to be nearly impossible...

The true cost of freedom

Our Future Blog
by Sara Robinson


[I]t wouldn’t be Memorial Day In America without old veterans and moralizing babbits pounding podiums in parks across the land, gravely intoning that ‘freedom isn’t free.’ Really? Is that so? I think a lot of Americans, deep down, would disagree. That hoary old phrase, beloved of my civic teachers, has taken on a very narrow and specific definition over the past couple of decades. … The way the right uses this phrase, it describes just one kind of sacrifice — military sacrifice — as though it’s the only kind that matters. And my objection is that this definition does a grand job of letting the rest of us off the hook. If the soldiers are dying in foreign battlegrounds for our freedom (just as Jesus died on the cross for our sins — the parallels are too tempting) — then for the rest of us, those freedoms are, indeed, free...

The prettification of war

by John V. Walsh


Many say that the media hides the wars now waged by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. But it is worse than that. While hiding the death and destruction and certainly blotting out any graphic images of it, our poor excuse for journalism is awash with feel-good stories about the wars. The war in Korea was televised to a limited extent and contributed to American revulsion at Truman’s war and his welcome replacement by the pacific Republican Eisenhower not yet brought under the influence of the rabid Dulles brothers. The same happened with Viet Nam leading to the abrupt departure of another Democrat, Johnson. But our rulers learned their lesson well...

The glorification of war

by Dave Lindorff


And I am even sicker of politicians who wrap themselves in the bloody flag and try to rub off some of the stench of death from the bodies of those who have died, mostly in vain for worthless causes, in hopes that taking on some of the odor will cause them to be perceived as admirable patriots themselves...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


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