Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Euphemism

It was once poetic and heart-rending, I'm sure.

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

I hate those words.  They're like the slow-motion deaths in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: distracting, and utterly disconnected from the ugliness of death.

Technically accurate, sure.

But soldiers who "pay the ultimate price," and "make the ultimate sacrifice," actually die.  Bleed out, sometimes, while screaming in pain.  In dirty ditches.  Leaving behind wives, and children, and families, and friends.

I don't like poetry when prose can slug somebody in the gut.

Memorial Day should include a memory that soldiers have nobly fought, perhaps, but are forced to die in some of the ugliest, bleakest violence imaginable.


None of them is served by romanticizing their deaths, even a little . . .

5 comments:

Mister Parker said...

They got a lucky break. Yesterday they were just two German clerks. Today they're the honored dead.

Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.

Hey, even that ultimate teller of hard truths, Abe "Lucky Linky" Lincoln, spoke of "the last full measure of their devotion."

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I keep hearing about war being romanticized but I will be honest for a change: I haven't actually seen or heard any American romanticize it, not in decades.

Me, I shake out my flag & fly it every Memorial Day -- but at half mast in the morning, as I was taught by my old man.

Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.

mister muleboy said...

I haven't actually seen or heard any American romanticize it

I was too hasty in my scribble.

Blithely cloaking the horror and genuine cost of war -- of dying in war -- under the convenience of "honoring" the dead.

That robably doesn't capture it either.


I'll just say that I've heard the phrase used like the dead and their families should be grateful and appreciative that they got the chance to have their limbs and heads sawed from their bodies. . . .

It's the blithe part that steams me.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Now remember, we can mock Jesus all we want and none of his followers will say we should be murdered for it, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Because every 3 months I shall comment upon each hibernating blog, and upon each hibernating blog I shall comment, upon each passing of each third month. So it is written, Mr. Mule, and so it shall be done.