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In a War-Loving Society, Peace Activism Takes a Lot of Guts and Bravery

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 09:09 AM
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In a War-Loving Society, Peace Activism Takes a Lot of Guts and Bravery



In a War-Loving Society, Peace Activism Takes a Lot of Guts and Bravery
AlterNet / By Clancy Sigal

May 29, 2011

~snip~

f you're in the United States while reading this, try a little test: ask someone, anyone, what Memorial Day memorialises? I've queried several friends and none could tell me that Memorial Day, once called "Decoration Day", began in the aftermath of the civil war to honour the more than 600,000 dead Confederate and Union soldiers - the deadliest war in US history.

Once, Memorial Day was a fairly solemn occasion when local communities lowered the courthouse flag to half-mast in salute to the "fallen", with jamboree parades to follow. In the 1960s, Congress changed the date to the last Monday in May so that people might have an extra day off on the weekend. Hence the current barbecues and shopping mall mania - and national amnesia. Except for the boy and girl Scouts, who still place little American flags on grave sites in our veterans' cemeteries, like the one almost within sight of my house, and a few soldiers' and sailors' relatives who come to visit, the original meaning of it has fallen into dust.

Curious, this. Because the publishing industry continues to pump out torrents of civil war books to feed a niche audience with pop biographies of bearded generals and Pickett's charge-type battle studies. Historians continue to debate the core cause of the war, and movies get made like Glory, Gettysburg, Cold Mountain and Robert Redford's recent The Conspirator.

No matter, most of us like to go on a Memorial Day shopping spree, warm up the coals, pull out the cooler and slap shrimp tacos on the broiler.

I don't care how Memorial Day is spent, whether in a relaxed holiday mood or a visit to the dead. I've walked through the military graves at my nearest military graveyard, the 114-acre national cemetery near UCLA with its huge adjacent Veterans Administration hospital and old soldiers' home, full of sick and traumatised ex-combatants, and a homeless encampment of veteranos under the 405 freeway, a grenade's throw away from cemetery where some of their buddies lie under white crosses or stars of David.



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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 09:12 AM
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1. on this very day, americans are out there killing to generate profits for our war industries nt
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