Memorial Day

Sunday morning and — No, it’s Monday. Memorial Day, when we look back at all those who have died in military service. 

As a Friend (Quaker), I am a pacifist. We believe that violence, even violent words, is to be avoided. We call this the Peace Testimony, and that is one of the most vital creeds of a religion that has no dogma.

We hold nothing against our men and women in the military; we abhor the system that exploits them for battle. Quakers believe there are no just wars and that there are alternatives that need to be tried.  Wars are fought for geopolitical advantage these days, and in earlier days were fought for land and empire. They were not fought for ordinary folk, but ordinary folk stood as cannon fodder. 

This doesn’t mean the Friends don’t honor the soldiers who have died in war. We mourn them deeply, perhaps more so because we feel they didn’t have to die. 

So Memorial Day is a strange day for me, a reminder that thousands go to war and fewer return. And I would thank every soldier for following their convictions, yet hope they find a way clear from that path.

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