Memorial Day Should be Outlawed

This is a repost from May 30, 2010:

Instead, Every Day the American public should express thanks to our veterans and soldiers.  If we were more caring and appreciative on a daily basis instead of squeezing our thanks in between a cold beer and a softball game, NASCAR race or Bolder Boulder on our day off, then perhaps veterans would be more honest with us about their experience and the stress they are dealing with each day.

Viet Nam Memorial WallWhat is it that is capturing their souls and leading our soldiers to commit suicide in record numbers? In the past five years the suicide rate among soldiers was the highest since 1980 when they were first recorded.

Military suicides make up 20% of all suicides in the US.  And for every death, five members of the armed forces tried to take their lives and were hospitalized instead.

The government is trying to stem this human exodus and is deploying mental health experts to work with the returning soldiers and their families.  In the beginning, when a soldier was deployed, he or she had the support of family back home. However, as the deployments were extended and increased, the support back home began to have their own mental health issues.

For the families left behind dealing with their own anxieties, running the household, making ends meet, parenting their children, holding down a job and fearing for the safety of their loved one, they may not have the strength to offer the support and hope to their spouse that they once had. They may be seeking mental health help for themselves, taking meds and antidepressants and trying to get support for their children.

In addition to being away from home, fighting a war that doesn’t end, with no actual date of return … these soldiers are learning about the stress they’ve put their family under. So to help out, they share less. They communicate less. They take the burden off the family back home as a way to protect them and hold it all inside.

And when they return home – they are wounded. Some are wounded on the outside, others on the inside and many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This disorder is commonly found in people who have lived through a traumatic event that caused them fear, stress and a sense of helplessness. They live in a cycle of despair. And for those who are killed in action? What sort of grief counseling is available? Their biggest fears have unfolded and besides their family circle, they are alone.

In Canada, according to my blogging friend Rebekah, there is a stretch of highway from Trenton, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario called the Highway of Heroes.

Highway of Heroes in Canada

This route is used to transport the bodies of soldiers and where citizens line the road to pay their last  respects. This Highway of Heroes is a public statement that shouts ” Thank You”  for all you’ve done.

It is a fitting tribute for the family and a good way for the community to join together to show support and appreciation.

I’d rather not have any more deployed soldiers, stressed out families, military suicides or war.  Until that changes, let’s find the support for these families and not leave them in pain.

14 thoughts on “Memorial Day Should be Outlawed

  1. InsideJourneys

    After Viet Nam, they stopped showing the arrival of the bodies so as not to alarm people by the number of deaths there had been. Instead of honoring the sacrifice that enlisted person made, it shamed their memory. No wonder we lose ourselves in barbecues, cookouts, the beach, and sales.
    I don’t remember all the details of an episode of Star Trek where war was fought with computers and each time one side scored, they losing side would send actual citizens to die. It was all so clinical, so undercover. People would just disappear. (I just looked it up on Wikipedia. The episode was A Taste of Armageddon.


  2. starbear

    Yes, if we had no wars, we would not need a single day squeezed in between beer and recreational activities… to give thanks. My nephews came back from Marine training and proudly (sarcastically) declared that they were now officially “well trained killers.” (Just the mindset would cause me PSTD.)
    Your post yesterday really made me think long about the 5th commandment: “Thow shalt not kill” I believe that is a spiritual teaching in almost every land on the planet, in some form. 4 little words… and we, a country founded on “In God we trust” and Judeo Christian teachings, ignore that. What is a country but a collection of individuals… what if everyone in this country honored Memorial Day by remembering that as individuals we each make a difference? Are countries exempt from spiritual teachings? What is the double message? Do not kill is pretty straightforward, I haven’t found the exceptions – “do not kill, unless you are a group, a country, a movement…”
    Is it possible that the high suicide rate is a result of people being placed in situations where the basic inner beliefs of human beings are destroyed for the purposes of supporting political leaders’ agendas in the name of patriotism? In a more humane world we would not even ask young people to go to war. Send the old political leaders to do their own dirty work…
    Yes, every day is Memorial Day… and I am grateful to the men and women who protect our rights to write. Question the government… the government is made up of people…. a lot of people. How do we hold them accountable when they hide the body counts?
    Are we committing mass genocide and asking our young people to “live” with that, and when they can’t, suicide becomes the answer? Makes me wonder…. and yes, I know I am a naive idealist.
    Thank you for your thoughtful posts! and Thank a service person… Every Day.


  3. Marge,
    This is a wonderful post. Food for thought. I don’t know what’s the matter with us … the human race. Doesn’t everyone want peace?! If I were to ask each single individual if they like war, I bet you, they’d all answer no they want peace. Still … we’ve never been able to keep peace with one another — not on a ‘country level’, and not on any other level either. And still … there are the ones that start all the wars.


  4. I think our problem is we think like women. War is evil and must be abolished… no more killings. However, entities are making lots of money on this war. Over $200 million is spent each day! The US has spent over $1 trillion!

    Thou Shall Not Kill is counter-intuitive to profits. I think if the money dried up, war would go away.

    Until enough women and caring men get into the world of politics and demand an end, nothing will change. War is about much more than a few 100,000 dead. It’s about greed, power, barrels of oil and money.


  5. Remember the saying, “What if they had a war and nobody came?” In the US, there is no draft so our youth willing sign up to serve. In reality, if there were jobs available and affordable education, there would be less and less candidates.

    Just imagine, No warriors, no war.


  6. The Star Trek show is a great example of the stupidity of war. For those who served and died, we need to pay our respects. For those who served and suffered, they need to be compensated. For families who struggle emotionally, mentally and financially … we owe them as well. For our grandsons and grand daughters – ENOUGH!


  7. InsideJourneys

    I was very disappointed when the president announced that the US government had killed Bin Laden. Don’t get me wrong — this man deserved much worse for what he did and even though the government has been involved since at least the 60s (as far as I remember) in killing people in other countries for one reason or another, it was always kept secret. I’m not comfortable with the message we’re sending young, impressionable children. Then we wring our hands when they kill.
    How do we find $$$ to spend on wars and on building more and more prisons and cut education spending?
    I agree with you Marge, No warriors, no war.


  8. starbear

    You have all expressed my thoughts, as well. I found the “celebrations” of killing Bin Laden appalling… and while he was evil, so was Hitler, et al, …
    If religious freedom were really tolerated, there would be no war… If people had decent job options, … If the political leaders were part of the show “Undercover Boss” for a month… If we each had peace within us, we would not be fighting for more, more, more…
    Yes, women think differently… and while we are busy trying to stay alive, survive, thrive, … governments remain in the control of the greedy, the “righteous”, and I keep asking myself those words of another (maybe the same old song) “When will we ever learn?”
    Nice to “meet” this group of thinking women! 🙂
    Thank you Marge for your following/leading.


  9. Pingback: Veterans: May Peace Be With You Today | Inside Out Cafe

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