Requiem for Peace on Memorial Day
Every society is a mirror reflecting its constituents. If everyone is flawed, it’s because we are human. A flawed society, therefore, is an opportunity to build a newer, less flawed but beautiful world for the next generation. If this doesn’t give hope, I don’t know what will.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines endgame as ‘the final stage of an action or process’
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. Memorial day is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month of May (source: timeanddate.com)
A light wind was rustling the grass as if an invisible hand was petting human hair, the sun was bright and the day beautiful except for the fact that I was in a national cemetery- ‘Jefferson Barracks, MO’ with a navy veteran to remember and salute the fallen sons and daughters.
My friend and navy veteran Lloyd O’Wiley had sailed aboard the USS America.
USS America (CVA/CV-66) was one of three Kitty Hawk-class supercarriers built for the United States Navy in the 1960s. Commissioned in 1965, she spent most of her career in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, but did make three Pacific deployments serving in the Vietnam War. She also served in the Persian Gulf War’s operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (source: wiki)
Personally, I have not lost a loved one to war but I can understand the pain. There is nothing more noble and sad at the same time than to lose a loved one to war. But, I believe our common enemy is war against fellow humans. Whatever be the motivation, it’s a inhuman endeavor.
What I will always remember is the fact that I found a tombstone which was dedicated to Indian soldiers fighting alongside US soldiers in the Second World War (photo above)
Memorial Day 2014 left a permanent imprint on my mind and I believe it was a truly humbling experience to know that there are people who fight for you who don’t even know you — a truly selfless act.
The US department of the Army maintains the Arlington, VA and Airmen’s Home National Cemetry. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (The National Cemetery Administration) maintains 131 of 147 national cemeteries.
As of Sept. 30, 2016, nine national cemeteries contained more than 100,000 occupied gravesites, collectively accounting for 41 percent of all NCA gravesites maintained: Long Island (N.Y.); Calverton (N.Y.); Riverside (Calif.); Fort Snelling (Minn.); Je erson Barracks (Mo.); Willamette (Ore.); Florida, Fort Sam Houston (Texas), and Golden Gate (Calif.).
(Source:National Cemetery Administration)
The Final Salute
I would recommend visiting a national cemetery closest to you to commemorate the fallen.
Whether is is the Amar Jawan Jyoti (flame of the immortal soldier) in New Delhi India, tombeau du soldat inconnu in France or the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, it will always serve as a memory of the futility of war and will stoke a desire for peace in your hearts.
It might be wishful thinking to believe that the endgame for all humanity will end in peace but that’s what I believe. However, I also believe I am nobody’s fool and if wishing for peace is delusional, It’s like saying all hope is lost. I agree with Martin Luther King Jr. when he says:
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.