I spoke to the Community Church of Boston yesterday as to the purpose of Memorial Day. Along with my remarks on that topic, I answered questions on Ukraine, the flag, Junior ROTC, the lasting effects of war, and whether the Roman Eagle was present at the Sermon on the Mount (spoiler: it wasn’t).
I referenced a section of Walt Whitman’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d in my talk to the Community Church of Boston:
I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them,
I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war,
But I saw they were not as was thought,
They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer’d not,
The living remain’d and suffer’d, the mother suffer’d,
And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer’d,
And the armies that remain’d suffer’d.
This poem informed this essay I wrote a few years back on combat veteran suicides and moral injury: https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/11/08/and-the-armies-that-remained-sufferd-veterans-moral-injury-and-suicide/
A simple summation of my thoughts for Memorial Day: At home only the dead have seen the end of war, as has long been said and understood, while overseas the wars, and their attendant suffering, continue. For what purpose, other than greed and megalomania, I cannot say.