Above Photo: Nationaltoday.com
When Will We Tear Down the Monuments that Glorify Them?
In the past few years, liberal activists have initiated a campaign to remove monuments and other symbols of the Southern Confederacy that fought the U.S. Civil War to uphold slavery.
Yet, this Memorial Day, many of these same liberals will actively celebrate those members of the United States military who fought and died for causes no less deplorable than the Confederacy’s.
Amidst all the pageantry and military worship going on around the country this weekend, few people will recognize the millions of civilians and foreign fighters who have perished due to the endless wars fought by the United States, and no one will honor the dissenters who have resisted morally bankrupt wars from within the ranks of the U.S. military.
Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971 during the height of the Vietnam War. In its current iteration—the parades, family barbecues, Memorial Day sales, Color Guard marches, and salutes to the troops at sporting events—Memorial Day communicates a celebration of militarism.
The holiday propagates the myth that Americans who have given their lives in U.S. wars have made that sacrifice in the service of protecting freedom or defending the Constitution even as nothing could be further from the truth.
Amidst this worship of militarism there is little acknowledgment of the actual history of the U.S. military and its actions—a form of psychological denial.
The following is a call to reorient our conception of Memorial Day to a version that does not reproduce cultural approval for the U.S. empire.
A Record Unworthy of Praise
The dubious nature of U.S. wars goes back to the very origins of the nation. The American War of Independence against Great Britain was motivated in no small part by the desires of powerful land speculators who had designs on indigenous territory.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 forbade American colonists from invading Indian lands west of the Appalachian Mountains and inflamed resentment amongst the colonial elite toward their British overlords. This initiated a chain of events that would lead to armed rebellion and eventual U.S. independence in the following decade.
Thirteen years later,