So They Do Not Die In Vain
May 28, 2007 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I woke up this Memorial Day sad, angry depressed over the unending loss of life in the Iraq war. What is an appropriate way for a non-believer in and non-supporter of the war to honor the dead (military, contractors, and Iraqi civilians)?
posted by Xurando to Society & Culture (14 answers total)
You don't necessarily have to support the "war" to pay respect to those who gave their life for the freedom that you enjoy to "not support the war." (horrible grammer, I know, coffee not finished brewing yet)

Raising the stars and bars would be a good place to start.

Take it from an old soldier...a flag says alot.
posted by winks007 at 6:48 AM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

See this thread for flag issues.
posted by pica at 6:55 AM on May 28, 2007

It has helped me for some time to interact with reality as an inescapable video game that I chose to enter. So it's not real, but the only way out is to go through it.

Another helpful idea for me is that before I became alive I was in prison and after I die I go back. So every minute of life is my my time out of prison. It really encourages me to enjoy life more. Additionally, it helps me decide what is worth arguing.

Dead is dead. Instead of worrying over the dead or injured, I think of ways of helping and acting on them.

And some people love to fight and kill. So I am happy they are being fulfilled. But I strive to limit the mayhem to people who desire it or enjoy it.

Feeling badly or sadly is a loss for me. In some cases, it is the only solution, and then it is valuable. But too many people are for fighting on most all sides at this time.

In the end, pain and hurt are manure that help make love bloom in unusual and unexpected ways. Get involved if you like, but feeling badly without action for change leads to self-indulgence. If you want to feel "goodly" today, make a step towards changing that which causes you pain.
posted by humannaire at 6:57 AM on May 28, 2007

Oops, copied the thread link from my profile, didn't mean to link just my comment in it.
posted by pica at 6:59 AM on May 28, 2007

Honoring the dead has no point except to help the living. The dead don't care because they are dead.

The living you can help on this holiday are others affected by these deaths, and you. For others, if you know some, maybe a visit or phonecall saying you're thinking of them would be nice.

For yourself, spend some time thinking about what you can do about the war. Resolve to do it even if it's small. (Voting your conscience is a very good start.)
posted by putril at 7:18 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I didn't want to go here winks007 but...., the people who have died in Iraq did not give their lives for MY freedom. It was politics pure and simple.
posted by Xurando at 7:29 AM on May 28, 2007

Memorial Day isn't a new holiday. Honor the Vietnam or World War I or II or Civil War or War of 1812 dead instead.
posted by mendel at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2007

A visit to the veteran's section of your local cemetery? Take some flowers or small flags. Perhaps you can be open to meeting others there who are honoring their lost loved ones. Listening to someone to talk about someone they have lost is one of the great acts of kindness in life.
posted by The Deej at 7:52 AM on May 28, 2007

The people who died were likely not themselves political. I would hesitate to guess their motives, but actual altruism, and paying for college so they could have a better life than their parents, might be high on the list.

How to honor those who have died? Try to do something to prevent future wars. Maybe by increasing understanding between cultures, whether that's Islam and Christianity, East and West, or -- and I personally believe this is key -- rich and poor. Avoid anger, guilt, sarcasm; none of these will open hearts. Rather, learn deeply the fears and hopes of people who would otherwise be easy for you yourself to hate, and then share that what you learn with those who you know will listen to you.
posted by amtho at 7:55 AM on May 28, 2007

I didn't want to go here winks007 but...., the people who have died in Iraq did not give their lives for MY freedom. It was politics pure and simple.
posted by Xurando

I didn't read winks007's comment as implying any such thing. It sounds like he is saying you don't have to agree with this war to honor veterans in general, including those in years passed who died for our freedom.

I agree that the Iraq conflict is pure politics, but that does not diminish in any way the honor and respect due to those who have died.
posted by The Deej at 8:02 AM on May 28, 2007

Sorry to make a second comment, but my SO wants me to add this:

Apparently there's a tradition of people adopting particular soldier's graves, to keep them nice and green and bring them flowers. Entire classes of school children have done this.
posted by amtho at 9:25 AM on May 28, 2007

If you don't agree with this war, fine. But what about the other wars? WWI and II, Civil War, the list goes on. Go to a parade, thank a Vet for their contributions. You don't have to mention this war. Remember, our troops are just following orders.
posted by 6:1 at 10:20 AM on May 28, 2007

Last year AskMe helped find some specific charities to donate to.
posted by gwint at 10:47 AM on May 28, 2007

Pray for peace to the diety of your choice.
posted by ilsa at 11:57 AM on May 28, 2007

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