On Memorial Day, as we pause in remembrance of those who have died in service in the U.S. military, I hope we also remember as well the diplomats and the mediators, those working in conflict resolution, the activists dedicated to preventing wars and to bringing existing wars to diplomatic resolution once they have begun, and the individuals of conscience who refuse to give over their minds, their souls, and their bodies to armed conflict.
Let’s remember the practitioners of nonviolent resistance in the face of tyranny and oppression, the anti-war activists who strive to educate their peers, their citizenry, and, yes, their government to the perils of unjustified and unjust armed conflict and incursions into lands not their own in advance of appropriate attempts at diplomatic means of resolving conflict.
Individuals and groups who stand up and put their lives on the line to defend their country from very real threats to our national security, as do those in our nation’s military, are true patriots. But true patriots are also those who speak out, stand up, and challenge our governmental leaders, those who put their lives on the line by actively advocating for justice, freedom, and liberty through peaceful means.
Looking over the history of humanity, it is apparent that tyranny, at times, could only be countered through the raising of arms. On numerous occasions, however, diplomacy has been successful, and at other times, it should have been used more extensively before rushing to war.
I find it unacceptable when one’s patriotism and one’s love of country is called into question when one advocates for peaceful means of conflict resolution, for it is also an act of patriotism to work to keep our brave and courageous troops out of harm’s way, and to work to create conditions and understanding that ultimately make war less likely.
On Memorial Day, let us expand our definition of “patriot” while we remember and honor all of those serving our country.
You Might Be Wondering:
What Is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day Celebrated on the last Monday of May, May 30 (traditional). It is a sacred day to all war veterans. It commemorates men and women who have died serving the United States. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens be reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. All U.S. flags should be displayed at half-staff during the morning hours. At noon, they should be raised back to full-staff.