Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day pieces

"Memorial Day is one of the few good holidays whose meaning has not become totally obscured over time." -- Michael Ian Black

"Let us acknowledge the measure of their sacrifice by honoring them as brave women, and by honoring them as women who served without thought of glory which we accord to heroes of battle." -- Metafilter, quoting Wings Across America

"The best way to respect and honor it is to reflect on what it means to serve and perhaps die for your country, and to think about the value of the cause, the power of the reasons, and the strength of the evidence you would need before asking someone—someone like your brother, or friend, or neighbor—to take on that burden." -- Kieran Healy

"If it is 'the health of the state,' . . . then it can also be an agent of emancipation and nation-building and even (as was proved after 1945) of democracy. But even this reflection can never abolish the insoluble problem: how to estimate the value of those whose lives were cruelly cut off before victory was in sight. It is sometimes rather lazily said that these soldiers 'gave' their lives. It would be equally apt, if more blunt, to say that they had their lives taken. . . .

"Memorial Day transcends the specific, and collectivizes all disparate recollections into one single reflection upon the losses inflicted by war itself. . . . Our 'Memorial Day' is now the occasion of a three-day holiday weekend (over the protest of the Veterans of Foreign Wars) and has become somewhat banal precisely because it seems to honor nobody in particular." -- Christopher Hitchens

"But her answer was always devoid of a personal story. It was always: 'You have to understand how it was for everyone at the time. There was a war.'" -- Ann Althouse