Who remembers the lives simply wasted or ruined by wars on Memorial Day? Who remembers the civilians, the innocents we call “collateral damage”? Memorial Day seems to me a day when the horrors of war are wrapped in flags to justify them. True patriots would find a better way to solve problems. As Tony Benn insisted, “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”

General Omar Bradley, one of our last five-star generals, said, “It is easy for those of us who are living to honor the sacrifices of those who are dead. For it helps us to assuage the guilt we should feel in their presence. Wars can be prevented as surely as they can be provoked, and therefore we who fail to prevent them share in guilt for the dead.”

With two wars raging in the Middle East and oil bleeding into the Gulf of Mexico, all of us can be true patriots. President Carter said, “Every act of conservation is an act of patriotism.” Never more true than now!—Rowland L. Anderson, S.B. (U.S. Navy 1966-70, Vietnam Service 1967-68)


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