This morning, I joined friends and neighbors in the nearby community of Doylestown, PA to honor a time of remembrance of loved ones passed and past. In this country, the commemoration of Memorial Day, even though it heralds the first ‘unofficial weekend of summer’, is at its core, about thanking those who gave their lives in military combat over the decades. It had its origin in the Civil War era. From sidewalks, multi-generational family groups and friends, two leggeds and four leggeds, stood and sat in colorful chairs, chatting animatedly. Doylestown’s parade is the oldest in the country and brings out military, scouting, historical, spiritual, entertainment, social and social justice groups.
I sat with friends from the Doylestown Food Co-op in a prime spot at the home of one of the members, so we could see everything.
Loved the parade. Enjoyed the rich diversity of people there, from all different parts of the world and varying lifestyles; tattooed biker dudes nearby turbaned Hindus, watching Irish step dancers leap on by them…..melting pot culture is what we are indeed. That brings out the best of what America is about.
My only discomfort was the machine gun sound in the midst of a crowd that emanated from an army tank. It’s one thing to honor military personnel who have served either by choice or draft. It’s another to glorify weaponry and war in that way. Haven’t too many died? It seems to me that this makes it seem like shooting is cool, guns are cool; and I know that there are some people who may be reading this, who may be gun owners and may indeed believe that. We can agree to disagree on that point. Can you imagine looking the ‘enemy’ in the eye and seeing someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife or partner? Could you really pull the trigger if that was the case? I can’t imagine what it would be like, to be face to face in a kill or be killed situation. As a therapist, I have worked with those who have seen combat and returned with severe PTSD. One was an army medic who thought his house was under attack, so he threw his sleeping wife on the floor and attempted to choke her. He confessed through tears that ”I went in as a healer and they turned me into a killer.” Part of his task was to ”pick up body parts.”
I would love to have seen peace groups being a larger and more visible part of the parade. Admittedly, I am a gracefully aging tree-hugging hippie whose desire is to live long enough to witness whirled peas(:
http://youtu.be/L5pgrKSwFJE I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore- Phil Ochs
http://youtu.be/UC9pc4U40sI Universal Soldier-Don0van