As a historian, I am very interested in preserving tradition. But there is one tradition that I would like to see fade into distant memory - Memorial Day. Please don't get me wrong, I honor people who have died in service of their country, and I always will. But I it would be nice if people stopped being asked to do that.
As a little kid in the 1960s, I watched the greatest popular uprising against war that this country has ever seen. There were peace signs, and posters that said, "War is not healthy for children and other living things". In 1975, when I was 17, the United States pulled out of the Vietnam War. The military draft, along with registration for young men like me, ended. It was a time of a hope.
Lately I have been listening to people who insist that war is good for the country, good for the economy, creates jobs, that sort of thing. Yes, there are a lot of people who benefit from war, such as arms dealers, and military contractors. But today is the day to remember the people who didn't benefit from war. And have hope that someday that day will end.