Grieving is not unpatriotic |

Grieving is not unpatriotic

I agree with Ed Johnson of Alta Sierra that Memorial Day’s purpose is to honor those who died serving our nation rather than glorifying war. I disagree viscerally, however, with his comparing wars and labeling World War II as a “Democratic” war. I also disagree that “liberals'” opposition to the present war in Iraq is disloyal and that lamenting the death of our young men and women do them a disservice.

Death from serving our nation is neither an abstraction nor a partisan statistic to those of us who, with each new death, see the faces of our own fallen comrades (in my case the Philippines in 1945.)

Labeling people as liberal or conservative along with concomitant insults is like trying to paint a portrait with a 15-inch brush, neither accurate nor recognizable. The large majority of Americans hold the same core values for family, integrity, and our democratic freedoms and responsibilities and differ only in the details of translating our core values in discussions and at the ballot box.

We have the best system (albeit still a work in progress) I’ve experienced in the 35 nations where I’ve worked professionally during the past 50 years. Our system is predicated upon the principle that reasonable people can disagree without being disagreeable, a constant adherence problem for most of us. To grieve for the dead is a compassionate human response, let us express that humanness without labels and personal prejudgments.

Don Foster

Grass Valley

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