The capacity to recall is one of our most important human abilities. Without memories, we risk mundanity. Without the capacity to recall and readjust--we repeatedly would do the same things, believing that we are having a new experience of life. Tomorrow in the United States is Memorial Day--a day on which we recall the service of the many veterans, as well as the sacrifice of the many who perished in the wars fought on behalf of the United States. It should be a day on which we can identify to our friends and family members the unique victory or the protected sacred freedom that was won because of a specific war. If we cannot identify a specific victory or a freedom that was won as a result of a war engagement, then perhaps the war was fought in vain.
Veterans of World War I and World War II are among the most revered in part because we know for what they were fighting, and we can identify the freedoms they fought to win for themselves and for their country. Today, it seems that wars are being fought not to protect freedoms, but rather, for the purpose of compelling others to get in line with an agenda. We don't like the ideology of a country's leader, so we decide that he should be removed from office. We then locate a fringe group within the country and we proceed to fund and to participate in their removal efforts. Despite results that are catastrophic at best, we nonetheless move on to the next country and the next leader whose ideological perspective seemingly justifies his forcible removal from office.
As we contemplate another Memorial Day, perhaps it is time to reconsider the purposes for which we engage in war. Neither American lives, nor the lives of citizens of other countries, should be spent on implementing one person's or one country's ideological perspective. Most importantly, if the war engagement does not achieve for the vast majority of affected peoples the principles that we ourselves cherish--life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--then the war is not worth fighting. If we apply this standard to every war that is currently being fought, each one of them would end. The vast number of war refugees is itself a justification for every country with a conscience to end its war engagements throughout the world.