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Wright Enterprises Shares Anh Lê's "Let us remember Memorial Day by waging peace"
Following the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper's lead to reprint Anh Lê's Memorial Day Op-Ed, Wright Enterprises posts the editorial originally written May 2017. Lê's words are worth remembering, "Wage Peace Not War!"
Let us remember Memorial Day by waging peace
By Anh Lê
This Memorial Day, let us renew our commitment to work for peace.
This is more important than ever, as we bear witness to the continuing war in Afghanistan, the continuing and unending war in Iraq, the killing and slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza region, the saber rattling by Israel against Iran, the loss of human lives in Syria, the unresolved tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the Korean people's search for enduring peace, the continuing display and expansion of China's military dominance and belligerence in the South China Sea region, its continuing tensions with Viet Nam and other neighboring countries, and its competition with the U.S. for control of the Far East Pacific region.
On the national and domestic front, we bear witness to how the budget for the Defense Department has continued to increase exponentially, benefitting the weapons and armaments manufacturers and the corporations which profit from such expansion, while increased poverty among Americans and other social ills in the U.S. go unaddressed.
As we honor Memorial Day, we reflect on the tragedy of war. We also remember how certain wars, started and waged by our own government and elected officials, have been borne by ordinary young American men and women, rather than by those who commenced those wars.
When President George W. Bush ordered the invasion against Iraq, a sovereign nation, in 2003, he claimed that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction."
Even though President Barack Obama had reduced the number of American troops in Iraq, U.S. troops still remain there. Iraq's people still suffer from the destruction of its land and infrastructure that occurred during the war; and the war and fighting and killing continue.
After the invasion against Iraq began, a friend of mine, Paul, an Army veteran who had been captured by the Nazis in France during World War II and was a prisoner of war, said to me: "Damn it, this war that Bush is starting against the Iraqis; do you see his kids being sent over there? Do you see ANY kids of senators and congressmen being sent over there? Do you see the kids from privileged and rich families over there? No, it's always somebody else's kid!"
The questions my friend Paul asked are as relevant today as they were then – not only for the U.S. war in Iraq, but also for the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the U.S. war in Viet Nam, which ended in 1975.
On Memorial Day several years ago, I met a Filipino American bus driver who was wearing an Army infantryman beret that his son wore. His son was in the Army for two years and was killed in Afghanistan at the age of 19. The Pentagon told him how his son died in Afghanistan. However, individuals who were familiar with his son and the circumstances of his death shared with him a much different version than the one provided by the Pentagon. This father told me that he and his family grieve deeply for their son each day.
In commemorating Memorial Day and honoring those who have perished in war, I think not only of American servicemen and servicewomen who have sacrificed their lives. I also reflect on the life of my uncle, Dr. Pham Van Can, who died during the Viet Nam War.
My Uncle Can ("Cau Can") was killed in Saigon in 1970 when a bomb detonated at a nightclub restaurant with his wife present. The bombing occurred during Sen. George McGovern's visit to Saigon. Sen. McGovern strongly opposed the U.S. involvement in the Viet Nam War.
The evening news in the U.S. that day reported that the South Viet Nam government blamed the "Vietcong" for the bomb detonation. One can be skeptical of the news report and question the veracity of the news source. I do not know who really planned the bombing that killed my Uncle Can.
This I know: When my uncle was killed, his young son was orphaned. His son sobbed as he embraced his father's coffin. My uncle's wife was widowed and she was seriously injured from the bomb blast, her face severely deformed.
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Anh Lê is a writer and independent journalist. He can be reached via email@example.com (mailto:editor@
COPYRIGHT ANH LE, MAY 23, 2018