Memorial Day – A Terrible Sadness

As I’ve grown older and more inclined toward peace, I’ve noticed that we in the United States seem to glorify war. We speak of the good war when referring to WWII and the greatest generation when talking about the men and women who fought on ‘our’ side. While I understand that something had to be done about Hitler, and even Studs Terkel seems to buy into the notion, I’m uneasy with the idea that any war is good. Necessary…perhaps.

This sort of thinking causes me confusion around so-called patriotic holidays. Not because I hate America, but because war and the associated celebrations seem to glorify a sense of separateness, of ‘I’m better than you are.’

I wasn’t really surprised when, while listening to A Prairie Home Companion I found myself weeping over songs by Bob Dylan, particularly the protest songs. But what broke my heart was Tom Waits’ Day After Tomorrow. Sure it’s from our Civil War (there’s a term for you!) but it speaks, I suspect for every single person who has ever found themselves fighting in a war, anywhere on the planet, any time.

I can only echo Dylan’s question, in World Gone Wrong, what’s gone wrong?

According to the Awakening The Dreamer Symposiums, what’s gone wrong is our western dream of separateness and isolation. That, I feel, is as good an explanation as any, and probably closer to the truth than many.

The question, of course, is how do we move from that notion that we’re different and alone to the recognition that we’re connected. How do we discover, deep within ourselves, that we are an integral part of the whole?

As we begin to see, grieve, and accept the horrendous impact we human beings, particularly those in the west, have had on ourselves and all other life forms, we may also be able to find, again, deep inside ourselves, the solutions, solutions that won’t become our next problems.

One of those solutions will, obviously, be peace, universal peace between humans and between humans and the other life forms.

Until then, until we, all of us, together, begin to move in that direction, weeping may be the proper and desirable response.

How do you feel?

Love and blessings,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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