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Memorial Day and the Sin of Gluttony

Fast food gets fatterWe the people of the USA enjoy our parades, carnivals, and celebrations. Any event where we can squeeze in time to share with friends and consume lots of food and libations is not only enjoyed but sought after. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, or the Superbowl chips and salsa as well as meat go flying out of supermarkets. Alcohol goes off the shelves too.

We are a culture of consumers and the more we consume, the more we get pats on the back from our government officials. You see, the more we consume, the better the economy does and so, the more we can enjoy our freedom to consume more stuff! That’s the new American way. But at what cost?

As we get fatter it seems that the energy our armed forced spend on dying becomes more and more the norm rather than the exception to the cost of freedom. The question is if sending people to die is worth our freedom to consume seemingly without any limit. It all raises the question of what Memorial Day is supposed to be with what it is in reality for most of us. The sentiment might be there but is the behavior there to math the sentiment? Is “freedom” merely a function of gluttony?

I remember when I was a kid and 7-11 introduced the Big Gulp. That was one soft drink monstrosity. WeBig gulp gets bigger
would get one and were a little taken aback by that amount of Coca-Cola in one cup. It was the biggest disposable cup I had seen. We would have contests to see who could drink the whole thing. It was 32 ounces!

I used to buy large t-shirts because they seemed to fit the best. Thankfully I have not gained much weight since high school. But large now hangs off of me and I went down a size. Most of us know by now that we are getting fatter. The question is if we are sending our troops overseas to protect our sovereignty as a nation or if the real motivation of our legislators is to keep markets stable to keep us consuming. Without consuming more goods our economy will apparently tank.

I have an immense amount of respect for the military and what they do. They follow orders and die for the person in the trench next to them. They will enter situations where they know death is highly likely and do it anyway. They understand order and discipline unlike the vast majority of our fattening and gluttonous society.

Boots of fallen troopsEvery day for the military is a memorial day. Friends and family members die horrific deaths and we on the homeland are increasingly anesthetized to what is happening “over there.” We like to keep death at a safe distance. We like to keep things secret that might disturb our gluttony. We keep the sources of where our freedoms are protected as well as the sources of our food hidden so that we won’t have to take responsibility for our bad habits.

How do we repay the debt that we owe to the military? Is getting drunk and pigging out while waving a few flags all we can do on Memorial Day? When people die to protect and serve the sovereignty of this nation for even the bad behaviors in which we engage every day including Memorial Day itself we owe some gratitude by taking responsibility for our lives and improving things inside these borders. Rather than pig out and satiate our gluttony on Memorial Day, wouldn’t it be a nice change to practice a little temperance and chastity?

The other action would be to hold our legislators and executors who send the military out to battle accountable. It is they who grease the wheels of gluttony and lust with the blood of our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and parents. The cost of life for any cause is far too high to hide behind it behind any flag.

Christ our eternal King and God we pray for those in the armed forces who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. May their memory be eternal.

About Andrew Tatusko

Secularization, critical pedagogy, sometimes agnostic, politics, and a ton of running. Penn State is definitely not responsible for what I say.


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