I am glad, glad, glad to have this day off, but it's a holiday that makes me sad. It originally celebrated the Peace that ended that "War to End all Wars" but that really led up to the Next Big One (I had to rephrase this sentence since that opener is so unwieldy), but now has become yet another war-related commemoration. . . and while I do think that veterans, people who answered the call, deserve honor and support, far too often these holidays become jingoistic relivings of simplistic us-them world paradigms.
WOW. I am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, slowly and carefully, and I think Barbery's diction is rubbing off on me.
Nonetheless, I do think that somehow Memorial Day and now Veterans' Day and also the Fourth of July have become days to celebrate war. We don't wear black. We don't gather up the widows and orphaned children and go to VA hospitals and ask hard questions about why we keep cranking out so many veterans. We don't feel the grief and bewilderment that "man's inhumanity to man" should evoke in us. All too often, we wrap ourselves in the flag and we say thank you but we say, "And we'll be ready for the next Big One, too,"--instead of vowing that there should never be another one at all.
And why don't we have a Peace Day? Or even a day to remember all people we've lost, not just soldiers? I love the Mexican Day of the Dead--which could be our Memorial Day, but again: here comes war. We don't do well with grief as a country. We prefer rage and revenge.
But on this sun-soaked day, due to hit 50 in November! In Maine!, I plan to plant bulbs, deadhead gardens, do some mulching, tend a flu-ridden Elder (temperature of 101+, and that's WITH ibuprofen!), and maybe even take a nap. The cold (nothing more, but it's a doozy that has reached deep into my lungs to entwine its gunk with my bronchioles) is ebbing, and I'm hoping fresh air, a gentle run, and a nice snooze will help see it out the door.
And on this Veterans'/Armistice Day, I pray for support for all veterans, and I pray that my country and all countries will not act in ways that propagate war, but in "ways that make for peace."