A MEMORIAL DAY REFLECTION—2013

Don't Forget the Hot Dogs!

Don’t Forget the Hot Dogs!

AND THEY JUST DIE
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
And I remember
that they just die.
In my name
because it is a democracy
and I voted
for the decision-makers
because I live here.
I am told that they die
to protect me from
the horrors on an
invading army,
and yet it is a rare thing
that invaders come
armed at our borders.
I remember, and my heart aches
with the grief of loss
because of the potential
we seem to throw away
on our cause of what we term
freedom
which is really a
code word for
economic recovery
which itself is a code word for
a justifiable reason to act on our
hatred of others and the unknown.
I am not against a war
that has meaning
and offers true hope
for the oppressed
but the wars I have witnessed
seem to all be about
the oppression of us all…
AND I will remember this, too.

# # #

ON MEMORIAL DAY—REMEMBERING WHAT?

Remembering to bring enough beer and chips to the tailgater? Remembering to bring the Hot Dogs! Remembering the mindless, senseless losses so many families face day to day? Remembering to ask forgiveness?

To begin let me state that I am not a pacifist, nor have I taken any pledge of non-violence. I have guns, I am well trained in gun handling and safety, I am a good shot, and I would defend my family in a heart-beat if I had to with gun, knife, fist or club if the need ever arose. BUT I HATE MINDLESS VIOLENCE!

I love my country and my flag is emblematic of the values and virtues that idealize the very best to which my nation is capable of rising. Unfortunately, my nation and its people rarely, rise to that ideal. We seem addicted to war, to fear, to hate, to pettiness, and are as I write leaning strongly toward being a nation of xenophobes.

I value the lives of the troops who have fought and died for my freedom. Yet I wonder how much freedom it was for which they actually died, and how much more it was for the profits of some faceless tycoon making literally a killing off of lives valiantly given?

Outside of WW II, I am not sure there has ever been a “just war,” but if there were it would not look like any occurring in my almost seventy years of life. Many of those wars were not even “legal” wars. When I consider the horrific loss of daughters/sons/sisters/brothers/fathers/mothers the term canon fodder comes to mind. To my thinking, the causes at which we have thrown our young men and women in this century have mostly been events manipulated for profit, some general’s promotion, or a president’s sense of personal glory.

We have convinced ourselves as a nation that we need to kill to survive, but I do not think that this is true. I think for the most part it is a lie—a grand manipulation. Lately I have come to suspect that the wars I have known are simply to feed a rapacious Wall Street. Investors need profits and war offers that very thing.

So today, on this Memorial Day, I will remember. I will remember: how most sacrifice is needless; how many have died for me when they probably did not need to; how I am constantly being manipulated to believe in the need for violence; how many lives I will someday need to account for that have died, they thought, for me.

All that is left for me, today, is to ask whomever will listen, whomever might care, whomever, for forgiveness for my role in all the killing.

In conclusion let me add that I am a Christian, or at least that is my claim. I try to follow in a person’s steps who walked on this earth around two thousand years ago. I also live in what is euphemistically termed a Christian Nation, but what that seems to mean is much different than what the person Jesus has called me to be. First Jesus was not a Christian, he was a Jew—a very good and deep thinking Jew. His call/mandate for his followers was the Jewish mandate, tikkum olam, which simply means, repairing the world. On that first Synagogue appearance in Luke 4, we read about Jesus:

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (NRSV)

If we can repair one person, if we can help facilitate healing to just one bad situation, if we can change one thing about our one self, we are repairing the world . This is what tikkum olam is about, this is what repairing the world is about, but Jesus did not mention going to war to do it.

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2 thoughts on “A MEMORIAL DAY REFLECTION—2013

  1. Yes! May we stop using war to get peace. Thank you for your words. Outside of WWII we have not been in a war worth fighting. Today our economic engine seems to require our participation in war in order to realize uses for our production and employment of our people. I have heard ~52% of our GDP is war or war-related (and growing)….. We have used our ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ rhetoric to be the rationalization and justification for assaults on others. While I too would defend my family to the death, if need be; I am now pressed to defend and protect them not from those outside our borders but from those inside who would readily sacrifice their lives in the name of the freedoms I enjoy.

    • Thank you Hope! I used to feel angry about the injustices surrounding me, but lately I just feel sad. I seem to trust more and more in grace. There is so much need by so many people to gain control and power over other people. Our nation has become a bully, our church leaders forget how they were included into Jesus’ love and try to exclude others from that same love. I do believe that grace will prevail, but not easily.

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