Peter Collier, Memorial Day 2007 in the Wall Street Journal:
Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: Those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.
They weren’t victims. We pity victims, we honor warriors. Those who died for us deserve our honor, they never wanted our pity. Read it all at the link above.
Peter Collier and David Horowitz wrote Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About The Sixties. It’s a great book, I read it when it first came out in 1989. I’m reading the updated 2005 edition now.