If the dead are lucky (well, OK, they can't be that, huh?), somebody in a trailer park in Retard, Alabama, will remember for a second that Memorial Day has got something to do with American war dead—whatever—put them weenies on the fire, baby, and hand me another beer!
That's the American style of remembering what's important—and what's important sure ain't the suckers who bought the farm so you and I can be free to shop at fucking Walmart.
All over the world, however, the living are asked to do this weird contortion of sense, remembering and by this supposedly justifying the ongoing idiocy of human beings slaughtering themselves in war.
Think about what we're really asking people to do with this war game we continue to play.
Let's say I told you that it was the necessary and honorable thing for you to go to war to defend an important idea: 2+2=4.
I tell you that "the enemy" (no doubt an evil-looking crew) is trying to convince everyone that instead 2+2=5. It should be obvious to you, I say, that it is our duty to stop this mortal threat to national security and everything we hold dear. Also, given this, you had better be ready to sacrifice your children to the battle to obtain victory in this, our glorious purpose.
I hope that most of you would react to this argument by saying that's a crazy notion and you'd never do it.
But, of all the things people have died for—God, country, and political differences being the chief killers—2+2=4 is far more important, far more fundamentally and irrevocably true than any of them.
Yet, you intuitively understand, without need for any reflection, how stupid it would be to go to war over a math equation. And as for tossing your kids into the Hellmouth to make sure "5" stayed where it belongs, that's absurdly, disgustingly, lamebrained.
But, if that's the case, how do you reasonably justify the others? Answer: you don't. You just craft myths of honor and heroism to project onto the poor dumb bastards you now pay as proxies (the few, the poor, the people with no other options) to keep defending a bunch of crap you wouldn't shed a drop of blood (that matters to you) to protect.
When the survivors of our glorious wars come home, usually with broken or disturbed minds—if not broken bodies—people pay lip service to their "sacrifice". They have a couple of holidays for the fallen and the vets. They call them "heroes", a word that is so dumbed-down at this point, it is applied to anybody who displays unselfish behavior of any sort. Once the holidays are over, the people get back to doing what really matters in the USA—making money.
Usually, the heroes (or victims) have difficulty adjusting to the new, old, math and reality. Sometimes, the impact of their dehumanizing experiences makes the heroes timebombs, just waiting for the little extra insult to injury to set them off.
But that's really more a discussion for Veteran's Day. This is Memorial Day, the day for the people you don't have to fear. Because they're dead.
Given the enormous revolution occurring now in military technology, it won't be too long before Memorial Day is going to become a day for remembering people whose numbers will no longer be added to. That is because automation of warmaking is rapidly bringing us to the day when there will be no more human sacrifices (at least of human soldiers).
The terrible nature of our weapons however will insure our graveyards will still be well stocked, but mainly with "collaterals", not combatants. Indeed, the collaterals will pretty much cease to exist (as that label), since they will become the intended target. And given the rush to make our killing ability more and more lethal and efficiently so, we must accept the fact that war must not be long for this world—because, otherwise, the world will not be long for human beings.
Memorial Day should be a day of shame—and acceptance of guilt. It is a failure in every way for us, in the year 2012, to have no better ideas than to send our young men and women off to die for things that are not even as important and necessary as 2+2=4.