Memorial Day is one of those days that you have to have some maturity to appreciate. You have to have a deep feeling for life and how precious it is before you can appreciate the profound absence that comes with a death. Many young warriors seem to believe that death in combat is a glorious affair, a kind of celebration that bathes them in an aura of rock-star fame. They've seen all the movies. They pursue a reward that will not belong to them. They give up their lives to abstractions of Democracy, Duty, Righteousness, and Retribution. Do they believe that a moment after their passing, they get to jump up and partake in the eulogizing, to tell their story? Sometimes it does seem that way. But the reality is that they are silenced forever, quickly bundled up and put out of sight. We are left to remember them, mourn them, and miss them in all their particularity. Today my thoughts are with every mother and father still living who has lost someone to war. They are the ones whose spirits are weighted down with the cost of our illusions.
I wish the dead could speak to us. I would like to hear what they think of war and their deaths now, from the other side. I would like to know if the loss of their lives bought them what they hoped. I wonder what they would do differently, knowing what they know now. I suspect that many want nothing more than to be with us, back in the land of the living. Glory is something for the ego, not the soul. When the body is gone, only the soul remains. The soul craves life and love. It's what brought us to earth in the first place. As our warriors meet in the afterlife those they have killed on earth, or as they wait for the crossing of the ones who killed them, I hope the forgiveness given and the wisdom gained rain down on all of us and wash us clean.