Today I pause to acknowledge the fallen. I consider the friends and comrades at arms who did not come home. I make a personal accounting of the cost of war. The price of war is high. The sacrificed men and women were precious – how many could have truly changed the world? War doesn’t change improve much of anything, only increases the amount of blood we have spilled for the sake of someone else’s vanity, profiteering, or arrogance. Wrapped in patriotic language, we accept slaughter as necessary – so long as we don’t have to look too long, too closely, to too honestly upon it. We accept the justifications. We accept the fear-mongering rhetoric. We look the other way when death comes for someone else’s daughters and sons.

I came home. Some did not. Over time, a great many did not come home. The numbers are horrifying. Add in the innocents – the children, the civilians, the people attempting to flee war, the people attempting to survive, the countrymen upon whom the governments have experimented for further gains in later wars – and the numbers become unfathomable, and impossible to truly grasp. We are killers, and we are fairly indiscriminate about it. So, here on the calendar is this one day. One day to account for our murderous inexcusable rage, our “patriotic” defense of our arbitrary borders, and our willingness to slaughter the daughters and sons of parents we’ve never met, and who have done us no harm – and our future potential. We’ll kill it all, but hey, at least we take a memorial day to observe… what? Our glory? The wastefulness of our violence? The passing of innocence? Probably not. More likely, we’ll take a long weekend to barbecue, and the most notable concern of the day will be the temperature of the grill, and whether the sauce is the same as what our father made, and will it rain?

Please enjoy the feast, and be merry. Sure, why not? Please also take a moment to consider the cost – the price paid in blood, by countless lost moments of a future we’ll never see, counted in bodies. Take a moment to consider who won’t be at the barbecue, this year or ever. You owe that moment to them, today.