At this time of year, we remember and honor our war dead, especially those who have died in vain on various far flung shores. Our military personnel have been in too many battles in too many places over too many decades of our country’s history. The dead need to be remembered. All who have been in service to this country need to be remembered. Some of our bravest and most patriotic citizens have dedicated their lives to this country by insisting on saying no and incessantly asking why. They, too, are patriots serving the nation. The early 20th century poet Claude McKay wrote “Service, a beautiful word that has fallen on bad days.” This Memorial Day week offers the opportunity for reflecting on how we choose to best serve and protect our country today. There is the necessary work citizens do to continue our vital democracy, the social purpose of our protection and promotion. There is the country itself – the purple mountain majesties that we walk in, paint and log as well as sing about. We long ago lost the War on Poverty. For decades we have been mired in the War on Drugs. Some want a wall but no explicit war has been declared against immigrants. The biggest destruction we are living through, where American fatalities have piled up from coast to coast and one community after another lies in wreckage, comes from the environment. We are totally defeated by Mother Nature’s flames, floods, storms, winds and waves, an ongoing onslaught yet to be acknowledged, much less declared public enemy number one, by Congress or the president. As much as the scientists have measured the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, reduction in sea ice and loss of species, the insurance companies have equally measured the annual billions of dollars in claims from nature’s destruction. The Pentagon’s generals have seen their bases swamped and their weapons destroyed. The military lives to plan but they won’t execute without leadership. That leadership comes from Congress and our nation’s chief executive. The citizen militias we need to form are to organize letter writing and telephone campaigns and mass meetings to gain our representatives’ attention and require that they protect and serve the public by addressing the needs of Mother Nature. We cannot defend ourselves against the perils of climate change or defeat the environment. Coddling Mother Nature and serving her with the respect and love she deserves, now that might provide the ammunition to win this war.