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Memorial Day

First things first on Memorial Day: it is a day to honor the service men and women killed during war. Not to be confused with Veterans’ Day, which celebrates all who served in the military, nor Independence Day, which celebrates our country and patriots–military and civilian.

Next, in a recent poll:

“Which of these comes closest to your opinion? Congress should block all funding for the war in Iraq no matter what. Congress should allow funding, but only on the condition that the U.S. sets benchmarks for progress and the Iraqi government are meeting those goals. OR, Congress should allow all funding for the war without any benchmark conditions.”

Block All 13 %
Fund With Benchmarks 69 %
Allow All 15 %
Unsure 3 %

For me, this confirms the much repeated claim that people are against the war but support the troops. They have bought the lie that unfunding the war would somehow leave a soldier in the desert without bullets for his M-16. And so while they really want the guys to come home, they also don’t want to block all funding. (I don’t have a perfectly developed opinion on this, but I do know that if the U.S. Congress didn’t fund the war it would NOT endanger anyone. It would force the President’s hand. Maybe a bad policy decision; but not a danger for the troops.)

And this leads me to what I really want to write about. I want to write about why I think that the men and women in Iraq are honorable, and why I think we should memorialize the lives sacrificed for this war. For one, they are the ultimate example of selflessness. They believed in a higher cause–ideals like liberty and duty to country. They gave everything they had in pursuit of that cause. There is a purity in that sacrifice that transcends the lesser motivations of our political leaders.

It is also good to remember such acts of sacrifice because it should engender a sense of responsibility in all of us. If others loved this country enough to risk and lose their lives in service to it, surely we should do everything in our power to make this country better.

I don’t think any of this is new or unique. But I think it is helpful to examine why we believe what we do.

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