Monday, May 26, 2008

Honoring America's Urban Dead

This might be a stretch, but here is the connection I see between Memorial Day and urban education:
Memorial Day celebrates and honors America's war dead.  I don't have the numbers to prove this, but I'd wager that the vast majority of those dead come from three wars, The Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War.  All of three of those wars featured a conscription army, and Vietnam (possibly the other two, but definitely Vietnam) also featured a class army.  That is, because of the draft, the majority of the soldiers who went overseas in that war were ones who couldn't afford not to.  Since the Civil War, draft boards have always set up shop in urban areas because the armed forces knows that therein live the majority of their potential soldiers.  Serving in the military, especially since the passing of GI Bill after WWII, has come to be seen as a way out for impoverished youth, the same demographic that makes up the majority of urban schools.  In that way, the majority of the men and women honored on Memorial Day are most likely ones who received an urban education.  More specifically, these people are probably the ones whose urban education failed them, leaving them unable to attain one of the professional jobs that would have been grounds for not entering the draft.  

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