Saturday May 26, 2018
Most people, when thinking of Memorial Day—if they don’t confuse it with Veterans Day—think of the start of the summer season or great sales at the stores and online. Yet the holiday is supposed to honor those who died in America’s wars. Even some of the limited remembrance on TV and in the news is more superficial than deeply reflective.
Perhaps the greatest tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice might be to reduce the number of those who die in future wars. Unfortunately, throughout US history, but especially after the Cold War ended, politicians of both parties have been too quick to send American boys (and now girls) into harm’s way, rather than thinking of war as a last resort – as the nation’s founders did.
The original patriots realized the expenditure of blood and treasure for the leaders’ political goals usually fell to common citizens. The founders believed that war severely undermined the American republic.
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other,” wrote James Madison, our fourth president and an author of our Constitution. “War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.