Korean War Memorial at the western end of the National Mall, Washington DC
Washington is full of war memorials; it makes me sad that there are so many. On the east end of the Mall, is the The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing toward the Lincoln Memorial at the west end. They unite the Mall like they united the country. In between are newer monuments: World War II, The Korean Conflict – named Conflict or Police Action so Congress didn’t have to vote for it – The Vietnam War. We are becoming an Empire, filling our capitol with memorials to our distant, empirical, wars.
It is nice we honor our Veterans – I am a Veteran and am proud of it, maybe too much at times, considering that I have never heard a shot fired in anger – but I fear that the Honoring is covering up national policies we shouldn’t have. I fear that the Honoring is covering up the debate and discussion on whether we should even be fighting these wars. I fear that the Honoring is covering up our neglect of the shattered bodies and psyches that are the waste products of these empirical wars.
In all the wars, in each war, young men and, now, women – or old boys and, now girls, depending on your point of view – have been sent to distant places by old men to kill people whose names they don’t know and, in most cases, can pronounce. They are sent to places we don’t really know or understand. It is not making us great, it is not making us rich, it is not making us safe.