Here comes the Memorial Day weekend, a propaganda opportunity for the System to promote the country’s militarization. The holiday was established following the Civil War, the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed.
Today’s Memorial Day is about recognizing and honoring the men and women who have made the “ultimate sacrifice” for their country.? But is this really the model that we want to hold up to our newer generations? Maybe we should reframe the type of sacrifices we choose to honor. Is it the “ultimate” sacrifice” to be killed somewhere in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria? Why isn’t the ultimate sacrifice choosing to dedicate your life to humanizing the world and overcoming pain and suffering around you? The doctors and nurses during this year of pandemic, the delivery workers who provided food and basic necessities to those stuck at home on lockdown, the scientists who developed the vaccines — they are the ones we should be sending flowers to this weekend.
We might learn from the Columbus Day campaign, which was able to have that holiday renamed Indigenous People’s Day (arguing that Columbus could not ‘discover’ a land that was already inhabited.) Let’s rename Memorial Day as Loving Life Day, in celebration of all the people who have preserved, protected and developed life. Let us bring flowers to the entrance of hospitals, clinics, and labs, and to everyone who is working to preserve life.
In reality, the work that these people are doing is much more important that the work done by any military. Without them I personally would be dead from cancer, my mother dead from heart attack, my friend paralyzed from polio…. everyone knows someone who was saved by medical staff and medicine. Thanks to their efforts and those of their predecessors, in every region of the world today, people can expect to live twice as long as they did just a century ago. These heroes deserve not just a DAY but a week of celebration.