No one I know who has seen combat has much good to say about war. A Desert Storm vet friend said on Facebook today that he hopes war ends so that we won't need any more days of remembrance. My World War II vet grandfather told my cousin to not sign up for the military because they would throw his life away without a second thought.
Sometimes wars are regrettably necessary. Sometimes they are the most disgusting thing perpetuated by humanity. When I went to the Vietnam Memorial in DC I felt nothing but pure rage. None of the people named on that wall needed to die in that stupid conflict.
Even when wars are necessary, the sacrifice involved should give us pause. Today I am feeling especially sad. I am thinking of the African American soldiers who saved the Union in the Civil War and died for a country that still refuses to treat their descendants as equals. I am thinking of the thousands of immigrants who died for a country that now treats immigrants with contempt. I am thinking of the soldiers of all backgrounds who died to defeat Nazism in World War II. The country they died for now has a leader who is beloved by Nazis, and who has called them "very fine people."
Those dead should not have died in vain. To quote Lincoln at Gettysburg, our nation needs a new birth of freedom. I am beginning to think that the stakes are almost as high now as in 1863.