Next Monday, our country will pause to remember all of those lost through the years in defense of our country. I mean, that’s the origin, at least, of what has come to be considered the unofficial start of the summer season.
There will be cold beers quaffed and hot dogs chomped under the stars and stripes of our national flag, often to the soundtrack of a marching band parading through the streets. If we’re lucky, the sun will shine in a cloudless blue sky as we gather beneath it to recall those who sacrificed their lives for this land we call a united republic.
What a load of bullshit.
We live in a country that is so distant from united that I no longer manage to even mouth the words to the Pledge of Allegiance during school morning announcements. I just can’t. There’s no way I could ever recite “with liberty and justice for all” without wanting to scream about how people of color, women and members of minority groups do not live in such a country.
In fact, we (all of us) reside in a nation that provides different rights to different segments of the population. There’s no such thing as “liberty and justice for all” in a place where people are publicly murdered by those charged with maintaining law and order and females are being denied the right to make personal reproductive decisions.
As individual rights – to protest injustice by taking a knee, to enjoy each of the same civil liberties as others, to access healthcare such as abortion, are being eroded with a devotion so far beyond the religious one so often cited as justification for the denial of personal choices, one right consistently remains unfuckingcompromised…
…the right to bear arms.
Next Monday is Memorial Day and it seems, to me, that that the time has come for us to modify this holiday created to recognize those who lost their lives in service to this country. We should make it a more accurate reflection of how lives are being taken in America.
Let’s begin to also include and honor those who have been killed while simply trying to live their lives in these United States.
We could start by adding the thousands of students who have died in school shootings since the first such event occurred on this land prior to it even being declared a country.
They certainly deserve to be remembered.
Maybe we could think of them on Monday, too.
Can we lower the flag in their honor?
How about the folks who simply went to a concert never imagining they would die to the sounds of screaming and gunfire?
Lets be sure to salute them.
Is it necessary for me to provide more evidence for my proposal that we expand whom we remember on the final Monday of May each year? Or, do you think maybe we’re going to need a whole new holiday to be able to include them all?
We most certainly can debate how best to honor the lives lost in mass shootings in this country, be it a(nother) moment of silence or a curbside collection of lit memorial candles more difficult to extinguish than a six year old’s life when confronted with an AR-15. What is inarguable, what I will not yield on, however, is the fact that this country has a Gun Problem.
Maybe we should all take a moment on Monday, and Election Day, to remember that.