Memorial Day clean-up
When the weekend of war movies on American Movie Classics begins with "The Dirty Dozen," it's not hard to realize the weekend is more about ratings than actually honoring soldiers who fought in battle.
But, it sucked Tom Brokaw in. Guess he was more focused on the Clint Eastwood films, "Flags of our Fathers," and "Letters from Iwo Jima," and the stories they told than the actual point of the holiday weekend.
It's the point of the holiday that always has me wanting more, because it never fully gets to where is should be. The weekend starts and ends with honoring the nation's soldiers, past and present, for the sacrifice they made. War movies are a great way to spark interest in that.
But, that's it: "thanks. We're a safer society because of you."
It would be an outstanding step forward for the nation's leaders to publicly acknowledge the nation's veterans, especially those who fought in battle, with an incredibly bold statement: "it's because of your service and sacrifice that we've better learned how to not get into future military conflicts.
"You gave your body so that we could figure out how not to go to war in the first place."
One of ways they can do this is by better funding athletics.
"You died in Vietnam so your grandkids could have better access to fields, gyms and swimming pools so they can be healthier and a more vibrant part of their community.
As it's an Olympic year and the World Cup is starting its qualifying process, this is a perfect time to showcase the new understanding of Memorial Day, especially for one candidate for President - Mitt Romney.
Romney has publicly promoted that if elected he'll expand the military. To expand the military, you need fear.
"All you veterans, you died so we could make warfare look cool and lead us right into the next one."
So, sports. The Olympics. The World Cup.
The soccer world is far more happy than the rest of the world - it has a team for Palestine, which is not recognized as a nation by a large part of the world because it's territory is within Israel.
Israel and Palestine. They can play together in soccer, although not in the same qualifying region: Israel (Europe), Palestine (Asia).
Soccer. What if the U.S. had invaded Afghanistan with soccer fields instead of tanks and helicopters? The U.S. contracted Aghan workers to construct 100 turf fields across the nation and let the Afghanis figure out if they wanted more support from the U.S. by getting the Taliban and Al Queda to calm down.
"We have to blow up those soccer fields because the U.S. is just trying to sell more Nikes, and we can't infect our nation with capitalism that makes our people happy through soccer."
Then, instead of sending more armed forces across the world, the U.S. government worked to better fund youth and high school athletics, including constructing more turf fields in every region from Alaska to South Beach. It renovated pools, built modern community centers and funded high schools so that anyone with the interest could compete on a team.
And then, when those fields in Afghanistan started producing teams, the U.S. flew some of them to the U.S. for a soccer tour.
Instead of subsidizing the U.S. military in Afghanistan, the U.S. would be subsidizing soccer in Afghanistan.
I look forward to the day when the U.S. government, as part of Memorial Day, promotes what it does to stay out of military conflict just as much as it does to honor its veterans.
The cost of war. It's a key point of so many war movies, but it never seems to get any traction with the government. And, it's not likely to in the future as long as AMC has films to showcase like "The Dirty Dozen."
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