Memorial Day: We Honor the Dead by How We Live

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” 
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

I spent 14 years donning the uniform of an American soldier. 

I have spent 11 years sending my husband off to war in the uniform of an American soldier. 

I hate watching him pack his bags. 

And when he stands framed in the wavy leaded glass of our front door, an olive drab duffel bag in each strong, tanned hand—well, my heart cracks a little under the weight of it. This is the image I carry with me, his broad back filling our doorway. Walking away. 

And all the time wondering if he will walk through it again. 

We have buried our friends. Some scattered across foreign sands, some casualties of war coming long after the battle is over.  

My husband serves still, and I believe honorably so. But, oh, we are weary of waging war. And so I will spend all the years I have ahead waging peace so that no others will die.  

We lean forward at home and abroad by serving the poor, the marginalized and the ones who don’t look or act like us. We remake our world by listening to the voices speaking different languages of life and love and loss. 

We go back to the places we wage war, and we choose peace.  

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Twelve years ago, over 100 U.S. soldiers died fighting two separate battles in the city of Fallujah. Some would call it a victory. 

My husband and I sat around the table some time after this, at a nondescript chain restaurant with two medics who survived the thick of combat in Fallujah during April 2004. I listened for hours over cheap baskets of wings, hearing their stories of the dead and dying. The tears they come hot and fast for us all with the weight of so much grief. 

Have I mentioned we are weary of war?

Another number, less noted perhaps, is the 1,500 civilians estimated to have lost their lives in 2004 in the battles for the city. A people who are weary of war.  

I believe we honor the dead by how we live.

And now 12 years later, the citizens of Fallujah are in the fight of their lives again. 

Fallujah is currently held captive by ISIS fighters. Her people are starving. Iraqi security forces received years of training from the U.S. military; now it’s being put to the test, as they press to liberate Fallujah.

And we—we who have waged war—can now wage peace alongside the people of this proud city. We can honor the sacrifices made 12 years ago by choosing hope, bravery, and peace now.

Preemptive Love Coalition is on its way to the front lines with lifesaving aid for those who’ve been oppressed by ISIS for more than two years. By helping now, you stand with the citizens of Fallujah. 

How will you spend this Memorial Day? How will you honor the dead? 

We wage peace so that no others may die.