Chris Hayes, Soldiers, and Memorial Day

I wasn’t going to write about Memorial Day at all. Frankly, it’s been so long since I’ve written anything at all, I wasn’t sure there would be anyone to read it anyway. But then this happened.

And holy shit did people lose their fucking minds! Now, The Atlantic ran what I’d call the best response to the right wing lunacy that followed, and so I will simply link to it here and recommend that you read it.

But there is one more thing I’d like to see mentioned, and it’s this; Memorial Day is about honoring those of us who’ve died in military service to our nation. It’s not more and it’s not less.

To claim that all soldiers are heroes is some of the most asinine bullshit I’ve ever heard. Was Tim McVeigh a hero? How about Nidal Hassan? Or Bradley Manning? Adolf fucking Hitler was a highly decorated veteran, should the Germans call him a hero? The answer to all of these questions is of course not.

But all of these men wore the uniform. Seems to me that if all of them were veterans, but none of them are heroes, it stands to reason that not all veterans are heroes.

So Chris Hayes was right. Not all veterans are heroes, and we do throw the word around far too easily. To do so creates an environment where we fetishize our soldiers, to their detriment. And we should stop.

Memorial Day is for remembering and commemorating those Americans who have died in combat. They don’t need to be heroes, they were men and women, like you and I, who served their nation and sacrificed everything for our benefit. Their sacrifice deserves to be honored in and of itself.


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