Two years now, and 1,521 Americans killed and 11,344 wounded. And yet, our national leadership refuses to mourn the dead, to stop our public life for even a few hours, and pay tribute to the sacrifice. Politics aside, this is a stark and terrible failure of the weak character of President George W. Bush and those who help to lead his administration.
This is the third post here to bear this title; the first inspired by the national funeral of Italian security agent Nicola Calipari and the second inspired by reaction to the first, and delving into what other Presidents have done in time of war. In the year or so of this Weblog's shadow upon the blogosphere, the reaction to these posts dwarves everything else.
My main argument is that President Bush and his administration don't care, view the troops as expendable, and won't get caught leading a national tribute to those killed because it would draw the attention of the nation to the cost. But one question recurred in many readers' comments, and it was legitimate. Fitz summed it up best (although a little caustically):
Certainly, if you’re so concerned about the troops dying that you insist we need a day of mourning, then you must have thought through a plan to avoid the need for future days of mourning. So let's hear it!
So here it is. If I had my way, the President would designate this Memorial Day (or Veteran's Day in November) as a national day of remembrance for the armed services people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He'd lead a national service and urge the big national chain stores to open an hour or two late that day. We'd have a national moment of silence, much as we did after 9/11. He won't do it. Doesn't care.
So, here's a real alternative, although necessarily more limited: a National Bloggers Day of Remembrance.
Each blogger would pick one soldier killed in action and write a profile, in their own iconoclastic blogging style. Use Google, read local newspaper stories, quote other online profiles. Build in links (or not). Add pictures (or not). But write about the life of one American whose dreams ended in this war.
Conservative bloggers, liberal bloggers, centrist bloggers, eeyores and pollyannas - doesn't matter. On that day (and let's pick Memorial Day, May 20th) dozens of profiles will soar across the blogosphere. Maybe we'll all feel a bit of pride, and understand the sting of loss - and the sacrifice.
Who'll sign up? I'm in. Let's remember.