"Memorial Day" started out, way back in 1866, as "Decoration Day", to honor Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. It seems that the more genteel Confederate states had been honoring their own deceased defenders for years and, not to ever be outdone, the Federal government in Washington set aside a day for their dutiful dead as well.
Now don't read me wrong, I would never and have never disrespected anyone's offering the ultimate sacrifice of their own life, whether or not I agree with the politics that forced them into that dificult position of offering it. As it turned out, it wasn't in my karmic cards to serve in the military, the lottery for Viet Nam expired a few days before they got to my number. But, for a handful of friends from high school who didn't live to have grandchildren and for the dozen friends I have now whose survival of that time is severely maimed by government indifference, I have nothing but respect.
Out of respect, I stopped by the "Historic" Key West Cemetery to catch a bit of the Memorial Day services there. The cemetery hosts a monument and sectioned off resting place for the crewmen of the USS Maine that exploded and sank off the coast of Cuba on Feb. 15, 1898. That event justified the American government's declaration of the Spanish-American War.
I got to thinking, it's the same model. . .
The sinking of the Maine was 1898's "9-11". It doesn't matter who did what or why, it was a great pretext for imperialist war. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were the Rupert Murdoch of the day and were beating the battle drums for all they were worth. Then the next thing you know, Cuba and the Philippines are American territories, William McKinley takes a bullet and Teddy Roosevelt is digging a canal though Panama and masturbating the "Great White Fleet" for all the world to see.
It's the same stuff on a different day, 110 years later. . .
We honor the sacrifice of our fallen brothers and sisters but never remind ourselves that each war, was supposed to have been the last war.