A Somber Time for a Memorial Day Parade

Struggling to Honor While Protesting a Genocide

Before I talk about my sentiments about this year’s festivities on May 27, 2024, It’s important to remember that Memorial Day specifically honors those who have died in U.S. military service.

On the other hand, Veterans Day (originally called Armistice Day) honors all who have served in the U.S. military, including military nurses and support staff, not just soldiers. This includes many of my relatives and in-laws, aunts, and uncles who also served in the military during WWII.

Veterans Day and Memorial Day both honor those who've served. Here's how they differ:

Many decades ago, I first learned about my great uncle Louis Rinaldi who died in WWII in his twenties while serving as an army sergeant in the US military. I was deeply moved to discover that he was fighting with the allied forces to defeat the fascist Hitler regime. I felt a profound sense of sadness, but great pride in honoring him along with my Uncle Joe who fought in The Battle of the Bulge, my Uncle Dom who was a pilot, my Aunt Toni and Aunt Mary both nurses and also my mother-in-law Brenda who was a nurse in the RAF during WWII.

Today on this Memorial Day, as Americans, it is a day to pay tribute to all our service members in the military who paid the ultimate sacrifice of dying for our country. So I find it particularly sad and ironic that we should find most of our politicians funded by AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) and beholden to the Israeli lobby, a foreign government. We might as well be The United States of Israel now. 

Before October 7, 2023, I sadly wasn’t paying enough attention, and I had no idea about how AIPAC buys off our politicians, both Democrat and Republican. This has always been a problem for Palestinians struggling against occupation of Gaza and ever-encroaching illegal settlements in The West Bank.  Thanks to AIPAC and US interests in The Middle East, US and allies rarely do anything to stop the violations of international law all while sending billions of US dollars to Israel every year. Now it has become not just a bigger problem, but an utter disaster as Israel has been taken over by far-right messianic fanatics that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has aligned himself with in the Likud party. He is basically Israel’s Donald Trump but far worse! More like what Trump could turn into if he is reelected in November! See project2025.org on how the GOP plans to implement their fascist takeover if Trump or another GOP puppet wins in November. 

Today, as always, I pay tribute to all of the men and woman who served in the US military and paid the ultimate sacrifice even though it is particularly difficult this year to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag while so many of our political leaders are complete hypocrites right now.  They talk about human rights and freedom and justice for all and then vote to send more weapons and bombs to Israel.

So on this Memorial Day it has been particularly difficult to feel good about watching my town’s Memorial Day Parade — cheering and then attending the ceremony at my town hall — because certain members of our town council refused to pass a ceasefire resolution saying it didn’t condemn Hamas enough and they were afraid to offend their far-right Zionist supporters who think that criticizing Israel is antisemitic and that they need a Jewish ethnostate in The Middle East to keep them safe her in America. I guess they never got the memo that Zionism is not Judaism and that Israel is now the biggest purveyor of antisemitism, massacres thousands of children and essentially saying, “we’re jews and this is what we do in the name of Judaism” The crazy nutters even referencing Amalak and making blatant genocidal statements right after October 7th and beyond.

For some reason, many of my local Jewish neighbors still support what Israel is doing to Palestinians in Gaza and justifying it. They seem to either be willfully ignorant, reading too much IDF propaganda or funded by AIPAC. The similarities to a MAGA cult and the hypocrisy is astounding. I take heart in seeing all of the other Jewish people protesting in the streets, getting arrested by the cops, doxxed and fired from their jobs and taking huge risks to speak out and say “not in my name.”

However, sadly, the thousands and thousands of people protesting around the world still hasn’t stopped this horrific conflict . After 8 months, there is still no road to peace in sight, even though Hamas had agreed to a recent ceasefire proposal, Benjamin Netanyahu is still being completely unreasonable because he’s finished as any sort of reputable prime minister and trying to avoid facing corruption charges all while his country has devolved into a Pariah State.

So Netanyahu hoped Hamas would reject Israel’s offer. When it didn’t, he turned to sabotage https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-05-05/ty-article/.premium/netanyahu-hoped-hamas-would-reject-israels-offer-when-it-didnt-he-turned-to-sabotage/0000018f-4817-d414-a5bf-fb37db290000

In nearly eight months, half of the 2.3 million people in Gaza have been forcibly displaced to Rafah as the Israeli military carried out indiscriminate bombardments across the Gaza Strip. 

Last night, on May 26th, the Israeli military targeted a camp in Rafah that had been designated by the Israeli government as a humanitarian area where families were seeking shelter. 

Netanyahu calls Israeli strike that killed dozens in Gaza tent camp ‘a tragic’ incident https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/gaza-ministry-reports-killed-strike-hit-civilian-tents-rafah-rcna154136

This brutal massacre comes two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in Rafah and while the ICC has called for arrest warrants for Netanahy and his complicit cabinet members. The Israeli regime clearly believes it can continue carrying out a genocide with total impunity. So does the U.S.

The U.S. government has facilitated this genocide by continuously sending weapons and funding to the Israeli military, despite mass opposition from the American people. 

The U.S. government, in supporting the Israeli government is also complicit in the slaughter of over 36,000 Palestinians, the siege and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, and for mass destruction of infrastructure and land – schools, churches, mosques, hospitals and so on.

People of conscience throughout the world are calling for an end to genocide and  demanding  an end to all U.S. funding to the Israeli military. This is no longer about Israel defending itself, it is now a wholesale slaughter and war on children.

So on this Memorial Day I choose to honor my uncle and the current veterans standing up for the values and ideals that our government often pretends to support, but in reality falls short of implementing.  These veterans know that respect for all human life and standing up for truth and justice is more important for world peace than supporting a conflict for US hegemony over fossil fuels and resources in The Middle East at the expense of thousands of innocent lives. One soldier in particular Aaron Bushnell was so horrified to see what was planned for Gaza that he set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC in protest saying, “I will not be complicit in genocide.” He knew that the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th could not possibly justify this wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza as collective punishment. Contrast his ultimate sacrifice for moral imperative over the countlessly immoral TikTok videos and Telegram comments being posted by IDF soldiers playing with the toys of the Palestinian children they have just killed or displaced from their homes or celebrating the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. Enough is enough!

Please write to President Biden at whitehouse.gov/contact and write or call your representatives and ask them to stop arming Israel and impose sanctions on this Pariah State!

Also, please follow these veterans on their social media channels:

@greg.j.stolker – https://linktr.ee/greg.j.stoker

@generationalnews – https://linktr.ee/generationalnewsco

And in Israel, former IDF soldiers uncover the truth that you won’t hear on major media:

@breakingthesilenceisrael –  breakingthesilence.org.il