Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Feminist Take on Memorial Day

I know this is late, after Memorial Day, but I've been reading a number of touching tributes to the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Despite feelings about the use and justification of war, it is important to acknowledge those who have chosen to put their lives to a greater cause. When people sign up for the military, they're signing up because they believe in something bigger than themselves (discussion of whether their beliefs are misplaced is for another day), tapping into the same motivation that drives people to join the Peace Corps.

However, there is one group that I think is always forgotten. A group that, by its very nature, does not lend itself to glorious stories, and heroic poetry, but yet, is just as vital to our nation. It's the people that get left behind, the friends and family who watch their loved ones go off. My views as a feminist is what made me think about this, because in the past, it's been the mothers and wives who are forgotten. Women's contribution to war efforts, yes, are arguably well-recognized in WWI and WWII, because they constituted some of the largest war mobilization efforts known. But I'm talking about in general, the Korean and Vietnam war mothers, wives, and sisters, and survivors of those who died in smaller battles that were never named.

Yes, there is strength and courage in those serving the military. But it also takes a certain strength and courage to watch those you love go off, risk their lives, and also help them take care of their wounds, mental and physical when they return. Today, it's not just the women who get left behind, but also the fathers, brothers, uncles and sons. Just as we need to recognize those who serve, we need to thank those who support and love our defenders.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Lynn Green said...

Amen to your words. If wives and mothers ran the governments of the world, would we restort to war so quickly?


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