Content Note: In this post I express views that are strongly anti-war, anti-violence, and anti-militarism. I mean no disrespect to veterans, active duty military personnel, or military families.
Memorial Day is traditionally a day to honor those who have died during military service, particularly in war. It originated after the Civil War.
The parade in my town passes my street, just a couple doors down from my house. I’ve marched in it, as have my father and my dog. I don’t remember the last time I actively attended, but I hear the drums, bagpipes, and sirens every year. They bring back memories – this year, of what may have been the last time all three of us were at the parade together.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about the people who give their lives and sacrifice their mental health – for what? Gone are the days when we engaged in wars that were actually for something. Now we just have ongoing military conflict that could more accurately be described as terrorism, wasting millions or billions of dollars on the kinds of weapons we claim to be trying to prevent, devastating entire countries, ruining the lives of millions, creating refugees, and creating the very terrorists we claim to be fighting. For what? Corporate greed and US imperialism.
Our military personnel and veterans die of friendly fire and suicide, in service not to our country, but to the greed of the wealthiest people in the world. We shouldn’t just remember our soldiers, we shouldn’t even just mourn, we need to stand up for them. Demand an end to this wasteful violence.
And in the meantime, do whatever we can to protect and improve their mental health. (Also physical health, making sure they have access to healthy food, safe affordable housing, and a fair income whether they choose to work or not, etc.)
I feel like I “dropped the ball” on Mental Health Awareness Month, but there are still a couple days left in May. Today I’d like to share 2 links that seem particularly appropriate:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has information and links to resources for veterans and active duty personnel that may be helpful in protecting one’s career, accessing mental health services, assisting fellow soldiers, and transitioning to civilian life.
Members of military families, or probably any family, may benefit from the information and resources offered by NAMI. Please note that “the information here” is linked to in a separate column on the left side of the page.