Being a stranger in a culture provides interesting opportunities to look at things from a perspective that is not bound to that culture. Because the culture we are born into is like having a painting hanging on a wall since we came to the world, we don't see it any more.
So I was reflecting these days about the meaning of a memorial day. Besides shopping frenzies at malls-in-sale-mood and bbq's, what are we celebrating? The deaths of soldiers and officers? The causes for which they lost their lives? Ok, I can hear an answer. It's not a celebration, it's honoring them. Since they gave the ultimate gift - their life, it's the least we can do. To have bbq's and shop for sales, put flowers at commemorative plaques and monuments, may be a few speeches, and start thinking of it way ahead, looking forward it when making travel plans for the Memorial Weekend.
So is it may be a capitalistic stimulus action, to promote spending? Because it seems odd to me to celebrate war and armed, planned violence against each other. It seems to me old fashioned, to resolve disputes with explosions and killing. It doesn't sound smart, intelligent, a great example to live by, an inspiration of the heights of human mind and talent. It doesn't seem to be a symbol of values to guide our life: go kill or get killed. It doesn't speak well of human race, pretty backwards if I may say so, since in Nature there is no war, only eating each other for strict survival, with zero animosity. Now I yet have to find the war that was fought for survival. I mean, not ego survival, not to restore damaged narcissism, not to defend the national identity whatever that is, not to retaliate aggression, not to prove what we are able to, not to defend our values that symbolize who we are, and to which we get so attached that we end up taking them for who we actually are.
I'd propose a new memorial day, it could be the day to Learn From History, what not to do again, it could be the Learn from Nature day, to go back and be more animal-like. They are smarter and have figured out how to live on this planet for centuries, whithout disrupting their home and without arguments with other species.