Today's a lot of things: Armistice Day. Veterans Day. Remembrance Day. St. Martin's Day.
It's interesting that St. Martin's Day happens to fall on Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day. St. Martin was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity. In response, he decided that his faith prohibited him from taking another life, and told his superiors so--but he offered to go into battle without a weapon. It's reported that he said, "I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight." (I find this interesting especially to contrast with Constantine, who used Christianity as a weapon, whereas Martin laid his weapons down after converting. Another post for that, maybe.)
My friend and former housemate Logan Mehl-Laituri is an Iraq vet. He was in Iraq for 14 months and, after a lot of thought, found that he couldn't reconcile his faith to his profession as a soldier. So he, like Martin, told his superiors that he'd go back to Iraq, but they'd have to send him back unarmed. (Logan, if you happen to read this, correct me if I'm wrong on this account.) They discharged him instead. You can watch his testimony here, at the Truth Commission on Conscience in War.
To be honest? I'm a pacifist. Or almost a pacifist. I think that there are certain things worth dying for, but I don't think that there are things worth killing for. You come up against strawmen a lot as a pacifist--the whole "what if someone were holding your grandma hostage and you had a gun" scenario (there's a lot of wiggle room in that scenario; for example, what if I misaimed and shot my grandma? I have shaky hands).
Call me naive, but I cannot, cannot, cannot believe in something like "collateral damage," because that "collateral damage" has names and faces and families.
It's hard for me, then, to take part in the ra-ra-ra-ness that comes with Veterans Day, or Memorial Day. I do think it's appropriate to take a moment of silence, or many moments of silence, to mourn for those who've died in war, and for those who have come back wounded physically and mentally. But also, I think we should remember to ask ourselves why we've sent people over to fight and kill and die, because the "why" might change the way we look at war.