It is really easy for those who have not actually participated in the front lines of battle to glorify war under the guise of honoring the sacrifices soldiers have made.
Memorial Day Is Not A Celebration
It is a funerary time of silence from our work and social doings to remember who and how many were slaughtered due to the failure to solve our problems peacefully. It is a day to consider the losses to individuals and humanity and consider the real cost of war.
It is a day of grief.
If you don’t personally know someone who was killed in war, then learn about the cost of war, go to a war memorial and look at the massive list of names. Consider the human beings, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters whose lives were permanently affected by the deaths, dismemberment and trauma. Watch a documentary about the real cost of war.
This is a tradition that began rather organically and spontateously in the 1860s after the civil war in the United States when people decorated the graves of soldiers, first becoming known as Decoration Day. About 750,000 people were killed during the American civil war. There were also at least 412,000 wounded3 in that war of brother-against-brother. Hundreds of families were split north/south and fought against and killed each other.
All War is Uncivilized
Isn’t it ironic that we term a domestic war a “civil” war? There was nothing civil about it. All wars are decidedly un-civil and uncivilized. They are failures of civility. It is our better natures losing out to the good in us from the first shot.
We have met the enemy and it is us.
Since the civil war the U.S. has been involved in The Spanish-American War, The Philippine-American War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, War in Afghanistan, War in Iraq.
Wars Against Our Native American Brothers and Sisters
These are only the wars against Indians during the post-civil war period. The nation still hadn’t learned its lesson, had it?
Navajo Wars (1849–66)
Long Walk of the Navajo (1863–68)
Apache Wars (1851, 1854–55, 1860, 1861–72, 1873, 1885–86)
Yuma War (1850–53)
Yuma Expedition (1851–52)
Utah Indian Wars (1851–53)
Walker War (1853)
Mohave War (1858)
California Indian Wars (1850–66)
Gila Expedition (1850)
Mariposa War (1850–51)
Klamath and Salmon River Indian War (1855)
Tule River War (1856)
Mendocino War (1858)
Pitt River Expedition (1859)
Bald Hills War 1858–1864
Owens Valley Indian War (1862–65)
Pitt River Expedition (1850)
Grattan massacre (1855)
Yakima War (1855)
Winnas Expedition (1855)
Klickitat War (1855)
Puget Sound War (1855–56)
Rogue River Wars (1855–56)
Tintic War (1856)
Mountain Meadows massacre (1857)
Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War (1858)
Pecos Expedition (1859)
Antelope Hills Expedition (1859)
Bear River Expedition (1859)
Paiute War (1860)
Kiowa-Comanche War (1860)
Cheyenne Campaign (1861–1864)
Dakota War of 1862 (1862)
Bear River Massacre (1863)
Colorado War (1863–65)
Goshute War (1863)
Skirmishes between 1st Cavalry Regiment (United States) and Indians 1849; 1854; 1866–71; 1877; 1885; 1890
Kidder massacre (1867) (See Second Cavalry Regiment)
Snake War (1864–68)
Utah’s Black Hawk War (1865–72)
Red Cloud’s War (1866–68)
Comanche Wars (1867–75)
Battle of Washita River (68)
Marias Massacre (1870)
Modoc War (1872–73)
Red River War (1874)
Apache Wars (1873, 1885–86)
Eastern Navada Expedition (1875)
Black Hills War (1876–77)
Nez Perce War (1877)
Paiute Indian troubles (1878)
Bannock War (1878)
Cheyenne War (1878–79)
Sheepeater Indian War (1879)
White River War (1879)
Ghost Dance War (1890–91)
Wounded Knee Massacre (1890)
Battle of Leech Lake (1898)
New Mexico Navajo War (1913)
Colorado Paiute War (1915) 
Of course we engaged in these genocidal slaughters of Indians precisely because we did not see them as ‘ours’, as our brothers and sisters, as our neighbors. Instead we codified them legally as fractions of human beings — beneath us, in the way of our “destiny.” As a nation, during the whole of the 18th and 19th centuries, the United States failed to live the golden rule of treating our neighbors as ourselves.
It is a time to consider how we may make their sacrifices pay off for humanity by avoiding such senseless mass killings in the future. War is organized mass murder, whether we like it or not. What does it say about us if we celebrate it or enjoy its depiction?
So I hope you tune out the propaganda and just consider the cost of war to humanity.
We must insist on better, non-violent solutions to our problems. We must no longer engage the human ego in a collective desire to win, to save face, to put the ‘other’ down. We must do the work to set up future generations to be free of systemic, chronic violence.
Human nature is not static. It is changing and we humans decide the ways in which it will change.
In looking at what are the ugliest, most despised qualities of human beings, it must be our wars and our willingness to use our talent and inventiveness to create ever more destructive weapons for destroying each other and each others’ cultures.
This we can and must change.
We can insist on non-violent, peaceful solutions to every problem, to every disagreement, domestic or foreign. We can insist that our elected officials and those with aspirations to public service develop the how-to to accomplish this.
The dignity and right of every human being matters. The capacity for win-win solutions exists in each one of us to solve our problems.
It begins in the schools and universities.
It begins at church podiums.
It begins in the streets.
It begins and should continue at the voting booth.
It must begin with peace in the hearts of humans.