One hundred and forty-eight years ago–with the Civil War just ended–the first Memorial Day was observed in the national cemetery after which Arlington is named. Graves were adorned with flowers. Flags were displayed. Speeches praising valor, country and sacrifice were made. And while much has changed in the interim, this remains the same: we still salute valor, stand as our nation’s flag is raised…and bury our war dead. Which begs the question: for all we’ve learned and for all the advances we’ve made, what have we missed, what lessons await our understanding?
Joining Peter to explore the meaning of Memorial Day and the lessons of war is Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace. Michael’s military career includes six years of reserve and five years of active duty service in the Army. He was a field artillery officer during the First Gulf War.