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Friday, May 25, 2018

A time to remember our war dead

Let us hope and work for peace
By Will Collette
Click here to see more history and photos of Charlestown's
Ninigret Naval Auxiliary Air Field.
Memorial Day is the official federal holiday to commemorate the men and women who died in our nation’s wars. 

Memorial Day began in 1868 as “Decoration Day” when people were asked to place flowers on the graves of Union soldiers who died fighting against the Confederacy in the Civil War. It has since become the day we remember those in died in all of our wars.

In years past, Progressive Charlestown reprinted an original series of articles on the history of the Ninigret Naval Auxiliary Air Field (NAAF) over the Memorial Day weekend. 

Hundreds of Navy aviators learned to fly, and  dozens died trying at NAAF during the Second World War.

The NAAF, now Ninigret Park and the Ninigret Natural Wildlife Refuge, changed and shaped Charlestown perhaps as no event in modern times.

Instead of re-running the series, we invite you to read about the airfield and its history, as well as controversies that have arisen over the land and its uses by simply clicking here on NAAF to bring up all the articles in chronological order.

It’s hard to think about our nation’s war dead without thinking about the perilous times we live in and how easily we could add many more names to the roll call due to a whim or miscalculation.

Will we go to war with Iran? Will we go to war with North Korea? Would either of those potential wars go nuclear?

Will we send more combat troops to Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria? With troops currently stationed in over 150 countries around the world, will we get more surprises like the tragic deaths of four Green Berets in Niger?

Will we fight Mexico? Or Canada? Or China? Or Britain? Or Haiti? The list of countries Donald Trump has gone after is a long one.

There are very few countries in the world that Donald Trump has NOT insulted or threatened. Russia, of course, is the prime example. Trump is on record as liking Norway what with its minuscule percentage of people of color.

Most times, Trump’s rolling foreign policy train wreck can be funny in a macabre way. But not on Memorial Day when we are called on to remember the costs of our wars. 

Whether it’s a war that had to be fought, such as World War II or the Civil War, or some foreign misadventure, war causes death and destruction that often beggars description.

In the months ahead, I think we can count on matters to get worse, perhaps a whole lot worse, before getting better. No one knows what Trump might do next – not the Congress, not his Cabinet members, not his staff or, for that matter, Trump himself – and what it will cost in lives.

Let us all pledge to do what we can to prevent more names from being added to the roll call.