This is what I think of on Memorial Day

4 min readMay 27, 2019

I honor the soldiers who have served us, but not for the reasons most people do.

Memorial Day is upon us again. I am somewhat aware of the fallen, the injured, the irreparably scarred. I only know something of their pain, their anguish, and the holes in their families.

But I also know that our brave men and women made the choice to enlist. Enlistment is voluntary in America. And yet, we are still at war. If enlistment is voluntary, then war is voluntary. We don’t have to go to war.

We have been at war for roughly 90% of the life of the United States. I can’t remember a time in my life where none of our troops were engaged in some far off theater, somewhere. I remember Grenada. I remember the burning oil wells of the first Iraq War. I remember the corpses dangling from the telephone wires of the second Iraq War. I remember Bosnia. I think of the poppies in Afghanistan and I know that those poppies are used to make oxycontin and heroin, and our troops are protecting them. And now, Trump is contemplating a war with Iran as a means of ensuring his re-election — just like former President George W. Bush did.

The men and women who enlist do so out of a sense of patriotism, a sense of duty to protect our country. I know they mean well and that they want to do the right thing. But they still must take orders. I remember the pictures of Abu Graib, and how the prisoners there were degraded, insulted, and spat upon as if they were not even human. Our soldiers took orders from…