My niece Sarrah Jessika just graduated from high school, and was asked to do the commencement address. But instead, she decided to read this essay to her classmates. It's about Memorial Day. When I heard it, I thought - WOW. This would fit in perfectly at the Huffington Post.
WHY I DON'T PUT FLOWERS ON SOLDIER'S GRAVES
By Sarrah Jessika
Forgive me if my speech sounds jumbled, but I was planning to talk about coping with my father's inguinal hernia, but then I realized that it was Memorial Day. (pause)
I have noticed that Memorial Day is not a holiday outside the USA. I think this is weird.
Don't you think that's it's kind of arrogant that we continue to celebrate it, even though the rest of the world doesn't? Haiti doesn't do it. Or Darfur. Celebrating Memorial Day while the rest of the world doesn't makes us look like idiots. No wonder they hate us. I would too...
According to the Encyclopedia, Memorial Day is a holiday that honors "the men and women who died in military service for the United States."
Notice how it's not "gay" men or women. (pause, look up)
This is just one reason why I don't honor Memorial Day.
But isn't it right to honor the people who gave their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we hold so dearly today?
No, it isn't. These people did not give their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms. They fought in wars because they enjoyed killing people. Innocent people. Gay, innocent people. Gay innocent people of color. And their pets as well.
Here is a fact that Condaliar Liceface doesn't tell you: "our" soldiers have callously abandoned hundreds of pets to go "fight for their country." Since 19,000 troops were sent to Iraq in January from a Georgia, animal control officers had to pick up over 300 dogs. Over a third have them have been put to death.
This has become a war directed not at so-called terrorists, but terriers.
I shudder to think about the housecats, hamsters, and sugargliders that have also gone missing. I have a sugarglider. It's a lot like a flying squirrel (but more adorable) and its name comes from the fact that they like to eat sweet sap that drips from wounds in trees.
Wounded trees. (pause) There's another casualty of war. War wounds trees and probably kills them too. But do we have a special day that honors trees that have fallen during a time of war?
I doubt it. Or if we do, we certainly don't get it off from school. And that's wrong too.
I think Memorial Day is only good for one thing: allowing us to ponder the hundreds of millions of innocent civilians that our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, great-great grandfathers and great great great grandfathers have maliciously murdered or wounded. Memorial Day is also good for reminding communities that when opening their swimming pools, they should also remove the bloody Band-Aids from the shallow end. It grosses me out.
But not as much as the war grosses me out. And soldiers gross me out the most. Dead soldiers are even grosser. My mother told me we have to go visit a cemetery on Memorial Day. But why should I place flowers on "white" stones that represent killers and torturers who have done nothing but cultivate a mindset that glorifies war and the killing and torturing of people and abandoning their pets? My sister's says there's a National Moment of Remembrance that is supposed to take place, and the US Flag must be flown at half-staff. I think the flag should always be flown at half-staff - not to mark dead soldiers, but to mark the My Lai massacre, which happened in Vietnam. If it is possible to burn a flag at half-staff, I would do that too. I would need to set it on fire first, and then put it up a flagpole, which could be dangerous. I would use a ladder but I don't like heights.
My sister is going to have a picnic down at the local park. I'm not going.
The inmates at Guantanamo Bay don't get ambrosia salad. So why should I? My aunt always brings ambrosia salad. She puts sour cream, fruit chunks, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, cherries and tiny marshmallows into her recipe. She spoons it all over a bed of lettuce leaves. This sounds a lot like Bush's evil foreign policy in Iraq - the fruit being our army, and the lettuce leaves being the innocent citizens of Iraq. The sour cream is basically blood, I think.
That's why I hate ambrosia salad. Almost as much as I hate Memorial Day.
Memorial day began when the Civil War ended. All war is evil but the Civil War was especially evil because it was racist - many blacks, for example, weren't allowed to fight. Women and gays - too. Don't get me wrong: war is evil. But what's eviler is not allowing people to fight in them. I hate war, but I hate people who won't let me fight in them.
A long time ago, ancient Greeks honored their dead by decorating the grave of every soldier with flowers. Ancient Greeks were bad, which is why you don't see them around anymore. As for putting flowers on graves, people still do that today.
That is evil. All you are doing is lining the pockets of corporations who make millions off people who are lining their pockets. I am referring specifically to Dole Foods, who I know for a fact has not honored its pledge to negotiate with the independent flower unions in Columbia. Because of this, many work-related health problems will go untreated, which include: headaches, nausea, impaired vision, conjunctivitis, congenital malformations, and respiratory and neurological problems.
I am not talking about the flower workers. I am talking about the insects. As you know, growing flowers requires the use of pesticides, which kill insects - which is genocide, at least from the perspective of the insects. Sadly, insects are incapable of forming unions against this fundamentally racist act. Because of this, millions of innocent insects suffer nausea and impaired vision. And so they end up jobless, and almost always homeless.
The next time you see an insect on the street, you will know why.
So I urge all of you not to buy flowers and put them on the graves of dead soldiers. In fact, I urge you not to buy flowers ever again.
(except you, Bobby Hafner: for the prom I want Champagne Moment Floribunda roses. They were awarded Rose of The Year 2006, and they have these champagne colored blooms displayed on shiny green foliage. If you expect to get anywhere near second base, bring two dozen. )
Thank you everyone, and feel free to circulate my speech among the internet!