26 May 2008

Nobody Sees Not Dead People

The real problem with Memorial Day is that it celebrates (if that is the right word) fatalities. At least in theory, the living have a different holiday — Veterans' Day, which should be moved to the first Tuesday in November and be made as mandatory as July Fourth. And so, today, the PrevaricatorCommander-in-Chief will make a tastefully overstated visit to Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The rest of the year, those who might be interred there — physically or virtually — will largely rest as statistics... except to those they left behind.

   This, in the end, is the real tragedy of the citizen-soldier: We tend not to see the nonfatal casualties of war, particularly those that do not result in an obvious physical scar. Some of those casualties don't even know they're casualties. But it beats the alternative.