Memorial Day: A political message
For many years, World War II veteran Harry “Speed” Lackhove has been reminding us how important it is to remember that Memorial Day weekend means much more than just the start of the summer season at the beach.
This year is no different. “Memorial Day recognizes those who have given their lives for their country,” said Speed on Wednesday. “What could be more important than that?” We agree completely.
Those who put their lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms that help define this nation deserve our appreciation and recognition. And while appreciation and recognition are important, they are not the most important actions we as citizens can take to show we understand the tremendous commitment and sacrifice made by soldiers.
The most important action we can take is remaining vigilant and informed as citizens. By doing so we can help our elected officials decide wisely, so that sending our young people into wars is always the absolutely last recourse available, and used to ensure our security and national sovereignty.
This is not to say we shouldn’t have a well-armed and well-trained military always prepared and ready for action if needed. As idealistic as we would like to be - and we should always lean that way - the reality is we live in a dangerous world peopled by too many power-hungry characters driven by selfish human instincts.
There will always be political elements who want to rush to judgment, and war, too willing to put our soldiers in the face of explosives before the persistence required of successful diplomacy has a chance to be effective. But typically, another day of diplomacy means another day without war.
Each day of diplomacy without war is another day of avoiding the tremendous human suffering, deaths and other costs associated with war.
As part of our personal Memorial Day celebrations this year, let’s not only remember those who have given their lives for their country, but also resolve to do all we can to settle the conflicts requiring our involvement without relegating more names to the granite markers that bespeak the noble willingness of those who have died for us.