On Memorial Day, remember there are alternatives to war

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A soldier with the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participates in a “Flags In” event Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The cemetery hosts the annual event to adorn all cemetery graves with U.S. flags in advance of Memorial Day. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s difficult to speak out against war and the military. Even for a veteran, especially on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day began in 1866 as a remembrance for those who died in war. It has morphed into a weekend of countless ads promoting retail sales, the beginning of summer and a holiday. Few take the time to contemplate what “died in war” means.

I’m an Army infantry veteran of the war against the people of Vietnam. For me, “died” in war means finality; barbarity; ignorance; ugliness; inhumanity; destruction of plants, animals, people, Earth.

Gen. Omar Bradley, addressing a Memorial Day crowd said, “Wars can be prevented just as surely as they are provoked, and therefore we who fail to prevent them share in the guilt for the dead.”

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Almost $700 million is spent each year advertising the military and, subtly, promoting war. The words “freedom,” “security,” “duty,” “honor,” “democracy,” and others, enter our psyche and are woven into our culture. Those who oppose war and the military are labeled “un-American,” “unpatriotic” and worse.

On this Memorial Day, think about war. Think about those who died in war — all of them, on all sides. There are options to war — but they’re not advertised.

Arnold Stieber, Kenwood

Choose a win-win solution for Balbo and Ida B. Wells tributes

Dominic DiFrisco’s comments about the Italo Balbo/Ida B. Wells controversy make total sense: Give Ms. Wells the bigger tribute that she deserves, and give Italo Balbo’s remarkable, historical achievements its due (“Rename Balbo? How about State or Lake Shore instead, Italian-Americans suggest” — May 23).

It is a win-win situation for everyone. Isn’t there enough divisiveness in our nation already?

As to Ald. Brendan Reilly’s comments about honoring Italian-Americans: Both Enrico Fermi and Mother Cabrini were natives of Italy (though Cabrini became a citizen shortly before she died, making her the first American Catholic saint). If he’s looking for people to honor, he might want to consider the Pasin family, whose company created the Radio Flyer Red Wagon right here in Chicago at the 1934 World’s Fair. It has become a national symbol of American childhood.

Indeed, a gigantic sculpture of the Radio Flyer wagon adorns a park in Spokane, Washington. It has become a top tourist attraction in that city. Why can’t we have a similar tribute to the Pasins in our own Chicago parks?

Bill Dal Cerro, Chicago office

Italic Institute of America

We need more like McCain

Following the example set by President Donald J. Trump, many ignorant and offensive comments have come out of the White House. Some have targeted Sen. John McCain, the first by Trump himself, the latest by a staffer.

Whether you agree with him politically or not, certain indisputable things can be said about John McCain that reveal the character of the man. These are just two of them: When he was an injured prisoner during the Vietnam war, McCain declined the opportunity to be released early because the rest of his crew was still in prison.

When he was running for president against Barack Obama, one of his supporters at a rally accused Obama of being an Arab who can’t be trusted. McCain quickly told her how totally wrong she was and defended Obama as a decent person. We need more leaders in government like John McCain.

Ed Stone, Northbrook

Ignoring root causes of violence

The media thrash about blaming guns while ignoring the root causes.

The First Amendment media uses 24/7 shooting coverage to advance their agenda, increase their bottom line and provide incentives and knowledge for the next school shooter.

Citizens have a responsibility for morality and to shun evil, that is certainly not taught in school since the ACLU and the courts threw God and the Ten Commandments out of the classrooms.

Ultrasound now shows the 2,000 to 3,000 babies a day destroyed by choice, but their screams go unheard by the media.

Divorced and Ritalin-laced families. Degenerate entertainment that demoralizes women but provides great profit to a few.

Many governments have killed millions of their own citizens. That is why the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment in the Constitution.

Robert Davison, Westville

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