WASHINGTON—Remembering the fallen on Memorial Day is a time-honored tradition of ceremonies, barbecues, and a day off for most American workers and schoolchildren. But many are feeling that the holiday might be losing steam, and that has some officials worried that Memorial Day will lose its meaning for many Americans.
Some say dragging on dwindling wars with no clear exit strategy isn't enough to support the troops. Statistics show that many Americans aren't even aware that the country is still technically at war in the Middle East, so experts think that it’s time to engage in another major conflict.
"There are a lot of places to fight wars," President Donald Trump said. "Great places. The best places. It's hard to pick one, trust me, I know. So the idea is to just sort of throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, you know? I've been working my way through the alphabet, threatening countries over Twitter, to see which one is the best fit for us to send soldiers to die. I started with North Korea, and, you know, that didn't really shake out, but now I think I've got something with Iran. I heard they have WMD."
"You can really milk it by making the parameters of the conflict unwinnable," acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Michael Shanahan told reporters. “We came up with the idea of nation-building years ago and that's been working really well for us in terms of synergizing respect for the troops with the violent end of many of them.”
He added, “When is a nation really ‘built’ anyway? Thanks, Rumsfeld!”
Veterans Affairs Administrator Robert Wilkie shares Shanahan's concerns.
“In our numerous interviews of combat soldiers’ post-service experience, one of the greatest complaints was a general feeling of loneliness, an inability to fit in with the greater society,” Wilkie says. “Extrapolation and a little bit of metaphysics tells that, well, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that have passed on must be lonely, too. It can’t all be a party beyond those pearly gates. So let's support the troops.”
War in the Middle East isn't the way to honor fallen soldiers by creating more of them. In fact, some of the best ideas are happening at home in the United States. Domestic strategies for honoring the troops by killing them run a gamut from innovative medical failures to simply supporting veteran homelessness through systemic inaction and public disinterest.
"We're making great strides on the home front,” says Wilkie. “The feedback surveys at VA hospitals speak for themselves. People ride our asses for not taking care of the troops once they come home, but the media fails to see the second and third order effects, as usual.
“Hell,” Wilkie adds, “just that first part alone saw more Memorial Day contributions of souls than the casualty count for World War I!”
He slapped his knee and laughed. “I‘d say that's a success.”