Why should anyone want to listen to what I, a civilian to the core, have to say on Memorial Day, when we honor those who have fallen in service of our country?
The answer, of course, is that they shouldn’t.
But you should listen to those who have served, and to whom this day is not simply one of general, amorphous remembrance, but of personal memories, honor, and loss of those they stood next to, fought, served, and lived with.
Many of our fellow citizens have no understanding of the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, other than it means a long weekend. Many people, especially those with no connection to the military, often confuse the two, citing Memorial Day as a day to thank those serving the nation in uniform. Recently, a friend of mine commented that “Memorial Day is meant to pay homage to those who gave their lives for this country and our way of life. It is a day to honor the dead. There is NO such thing as “Happy Memorial Day.”
Respectfully, I disagree, in part, anyway.
Memorial Day is a happy yet solemn, joyful yet tearful, partly sunny yet mostly cloudy kind of day.
We are living the days these men and women never will. Live them well, be happy, and enjoy the blessings of liberty their service and sacrifice have bought. Although we take pause today to remember their absence, we must also take this day to celebrate the very liberty they have secured.
I keep this photo as probably the most powerful reminder for me of what the real price of freedom looks like. Those that give their all as well as those they leave behind. We should remember both as we celebrate the freedom they’ve blessed us with and assured for us on this Memorial Day.
They are the most egalitarian places in the nation…To gain entrance, one has only to ask. Or, in times of extreme need, answer the call when delivered.
There are more. Go find them. And then, I will be presumptuous enough to believe I know how those who have fallen would want us to honor them on this day: by caring for those who still serve. Sign up to support a servicemember at Soldiers’ Angels, make a donation, or find some other (reputable) military support charity to devote your time and perhaps some of your funds to. If you, like I, haven’t worn our countries’ uniform, it is the least we can do.