Memorial Day: Why We Must Study War

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As citizens of a free country it is necessary that we acknowledge the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform that died to defend it. Civil society only survives in a world of violence and tyranny if there are rough men ready to do violence on our behalf.

Andrew Jackson, after winning the Battle of New Orleans, reminded us of the necessity of the soldier when he said our sacred liberties would be in trouble indeed if we only employ “lawyers” to defend the Constitution.

Days of memorial for those that sacrificed and died in service to their country are common in American history, stemming back to the Revolution. But the modern practice of celebrating Memorial Day as a national holiday was established after the Civil War as a way for Americans to pay tribute to their Union and Confederate dead. Some of these earliest commemorations were held at Arlington National Cemetery, which this year turns 150 years old.

However, as we look back and remember those that have died defending us we must note the famous line by philosopher George Santayana: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Modern Americans are being failed by an education system that no longer teaches about war and neglects its study to a dangerous degree.

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