Photo by Josh LeClair via Flickr
It's so hard to write about Memorial Day and other celebrations. Either you sound like everybody else or you seem like you're trying to exploit something for your own gain. Hopefully this blog doesn't do either.
For me this holiday brings five reflections.
1. Gratitude for the self-sacrifice involved in military service and to the full spectrum of self-sacrificing patriots - including women and homosexuals
2. Anger that there is not justice for soldiers who are sexually assaulted - something that happens to men and women alike
3. Appreciation for our military families, whose sacrifice is quieter but no less real. The wish that men could be given more permission to be "soft," fair and human rather than always "macho" without being stigmatized. Especially because when they come home, the post-traumatic disorder leads often to family turbulence and domestic violence.
4. Resist the temptation to stifle those who disagree with you - freedom of speech is hard-won and one of the first things to go in a dictatorship
5. Don't be all superior-like if you are anti-war. Thank the anonymous soldier who either got killed or has killed someone else so that you may live free: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." (George Orwell)