A Not-So-Happy Memorial Day


Greetings this somber Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, we recognize the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price in the giving of their lives in our nation’s wars. The Civil War and World War II stand out as wars to defend democracy and our shared humanity, wars fought in opposition to tyranny and slavery, while some of our other wars are decidedly more complicated. Nonetheless, it’s hard to stand dry-eyed in front of the Vietnam War Memorial in D.C., for example, as we ponder the immense sadness of all those lost lives.

Recent events reveal the bloody nature of a different sort of war, an internal conflict with staggering numbers of innocent victims, fueled by a tragically flawed interpretation of the Second Amendment. Those who stick to this fable point to mental illness as the cause behind Buffalo and Uvalde, not guns. It’s true that those who massacre the innocent are obviously sick – no one who is mentally and spiritually healthy could do such a thing – and we as a nation have underinvested in mental health for generations. But we cannot waive a magic wand and change this overnight. Other countries have their share of mental illness, but what they don’t have is the bloody tally of gun-related deaths we have in the U.S.

So, on this Memorial Day, let us remember the names of the school children and the two teachers killed in Uvalde. Let us pause to acknowledge the names of the elderly victims gunned down at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, murdered because of the color of their skin. And let us acknowledge the 45,000 lives lost annually due to gun violence in this country and realize this is the bloody price of our acutely insufficient regulation of guns, a national policy that exacerbates untreated mental illness and lingering racist mythologies and turns them into the tragic events that confront us today.

If we have any hope of turning this around, if this is to be something other than a bellwether of our nation’s inexorable decline, we must vote out any politician who ascribes to a rabidly defenseless apology of the status quo.

As we move into this electoral season, I encourage us all to get involved. Let us find a way to make a difference. We must not remain passive or numb in the face of this insanity, but rather band together and work to create a brighter, more hopeful future. 

There is honor in sacrifice when voluntarily chosen. There is no honor, only national disgrace, in the ongoing tragedy of gun violence.

Say their names. May God have mercy and may we find the grace and the courage to do the right thing and change our ways.





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Alder Tag Evers

Alder Tag Evers

District 13
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