Memorial Day is meant to be a day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending this country. But there are those who are choosing to make Memorial Day into a political event. Presidential candidate John Edwards is at the forefront of a movement to make Memorial Day a day of anti-war activism. He is urging his supporters and anyone else who will listen to take to the streets over Memorial Day weekend to protest the war in Iraq.
Some of Edwards suggestion for Memorial Day activities are to make signs demanding an end to the war and take them to Memorial Day parades. He urges people to stage protests and gatherings in public places to demonstrate against the war. He asks supporters to write letters to President Bush and Congress members to ask them to withdraw our troops from Iraq. It is no coincidence that Edwards is staging this coordinated anti-war effort on Memorial Day weekend. It s his intention to use a holiday meant to honor our troops to instead exploit our troops for his own political gain. That is not a way to honor our fallen heroes. It is little more than a political stunt and it is the height of disrespect and thoughtlessness.
To truly support our troops, we must remove that support from the political arena. It is not support if it is tied to an anti-war agenda. Our troops need unwavering and unconditional support from each of us. They did not choose the war they are fighting. They did not sign the legislation authorizing the war. They did not decide when to deploy or where to go. They are simply doing their job. The job they volunteered to do because someone has to defend all that we hold dear. Whatever you believe about the war, the men and women who are fighting for our freedoms deserve unqualified support.
In fairness, Edwards and his anti-war organization also made a few positive suggestions for Memorial Day. He advocates sending letters and care packages to our troops overseas. He also mentions visiting a wounded veteran and offering support or volunteering in a VA hospital. But truly, those activities are things we should be doing anyway and all year round. Truly supporting our troops should not come once a year, but it should be incumbent on each of us all year long. Memorial Day is a day to lift our glasses and bow our heads as we honor those who have given their lives so we can live in peace and security. Donâ€™t make it political, make it holy.