I just wanted to say something on Memorial Day. At first, I thought about making a comic but nothing I did seemed right.
I do not believe in blind pride for my country. Memorial Day is a day to remember and never forget.
I think about my grandfather, who is buried in a military cemetery in Portland, Oregon. I don’t think about his service to his country or what he did during World War 2. I just want him back.
My family has been in America since the very begging of colonization. I have ancestors who have fought in every major American war. Despite all the faults of my country, I still take pride in this.
My Great Grandfather did not fight under an American banner in World War 1, despite being an American citizen. Like many young men, he did not want to miss the action so he joined the Canadian military instead. Because of the politics of his choice, he does not have a flag placed on his grave during Memorial Day. This year my father and mother are traveling to his grave to place the flag themselves. My mother loved her grandfather very much. Apart of me wonders about how many people helped shape the world and never get any official recognition for it.
I think my Great Grandfather went to war for the many stupid reasons young people go to war. Glory, honor, opportunity… What I take pride in is the reasons why young men stay in war.
My Great Great Great Grandfather was in Battery B, 4th US artillery during the Civil War. What a gruesome horrible war. I cannot imagine the fear he must have felt, the absolute terror that would have gripped someone in the heat of battle. The emotions involved are complex, but I like to imagine that he was one of those many soldiers who thought to himself ‘I’m fighting for a better world.’
They never knew me, but they knew one day I would be born. They kept fighting in the hopes that I would not have to. There is this stream of love that flows down to me through the centuries. I feel it, as keenly as when my mother kisses me on the forehead.
I understand why someone would choose to worship their ancestors. Perhaps they are the only ones that are truly worthy of religious devotion.
I wish there was a way to let them know how much I love them. It would be so much easier to handle.
‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’
Such as it is, there is no way I would ever be able to meet them. I must feel their love and in return I must do my part to make my world better. When I have children I hope I will teach them well enough so that one day they can feel this love and pass it on to their children.
Happy Memorial Day