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      To make peace either one side has to be unable to fight any more, or both sides must want to make peace. One problem in Ukraine is that both sides (and I don’t mean Ukraine and Russia, but Ukraine/NATO v. Russia) have put themselves into a trap where the leaders of various countries can’t afford to lose the war, because they will lose power. Support for Ukra […]
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Memorial Day

What we celebrate and honor as Memorial Day, originated as Decoration Day, on May 30, 1868, as President Garfield spoke in front of a crowd of 5,000 at Arlington National Cemetery. It was not an official holiday then, but by 1890, each of the former union states had adopted a Decoration Day to remember and honor the soldiers killed in war. The appellation Memorial Day began to supplant Decoration Day over the decades.

In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, which made a few holidays into Mondays, so as to create three-day holiday weekends. The name of the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day, to take place on the last Monday in May. That went into effect in 1971.

It is a solemn holiday, made more so this year because of the tragedy in Uvalde. Ordinarily, the day is about honoring the fallen soldiers of various wars. But it is certainly appropriate to include the children and teachers who were killed in Uvalde, even though they had no idea that they were engaged in a war.

The numbers who are killed by gun violence in this country increases each year. Will remembering them accomplish more than the emotional effect? Will anything be done by Congress with regard to gun safety laws, which used to be called gun control laws, but which term has been essentially abandoned so as not to upset the fanatic people who think that the Second Amendment was intended to give each citizen the right to purchase as many guns and as much ammunition as they want?

Of course it was not intended to do that, the very fact of the qualifying sentence, “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State…” makes that obvious. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger said, after he had retired, that the contention that the Second Amendment was intended to provide every American a right to purchase weapons of all types, was, “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee any citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or he desires.”

We will not spend today recounting the sad history of how the Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire, and how the Republicans in Congress have absolutely refused to vote for any laws even slightly diminishing the danger from gun violence. I think that there might be some very flimsy law passed by Congress, just to give Republicans some cover for the upcoming elections, but there is little chance that something significant will be passed. To do that, we would need a larger Democratic majority in the Senate, and the will to override the inevitable Republican filibuster.

For today, people will enjoy the day off, the “unofficial beginning of summer,” the day on which there used to be some baseball doubleheaders, which I loved as boy; a day for barbecues and possibly trips to the beach, or flights out of town. Holidays are nice respites, but of course the meaning of the holiday should never be forgotten. England has its version, called, “Remembrance Day,” and I commend to you a powerful and melodic song by B-Movie called “Remembrance Day,” from 1981.

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