As I sit here getting ready to start the long three day weekend the upcoming holiday has me reflecting a bit.
Memorial Day means many things to many people. For the masses out there it is the unofficial start of the Summer season. For others it’s a time to travel and visit family. The three day weekend for those who get the day off is a time to relax and even take an extended vacation. Yet, I feel many people forget the actual significance of this day set aside by our country to observe. Memorial Day is meant to be more than about partying, the beach, drinking, BBQ’ing, and vacations. It’s a day set aside to honor and remember our war dead. For those who served in our Armed Forces to protect and fight for our freedom, and lost their lives while doing it.
Sure, I am also one of the masses who enjoy this time of year and see it as a weekend to have fun. Yet, it always holds meaning to me beyond that as I have had many family members in the military and some had fought in World War 2. My father served in the Army and was stationed in Germany in the mid 60’s and even though there as “peace keeping” occupiers there were still many reminders of the Nazi regime all around. It was still not too long after the war had ended and was still fresh in that country’s psyche. Currently, my fiancee’s brother is serving in the Air Force and has been there for many years. We just recently learned the news that he will be sent over for another tour of duty in Afghanistan for what seems like the umpteenth time. He has gone over more times than some others so far, but as they say you go where they tell you to go when in the military. Does it seem fair? No, but life sometimes is not fair and we deal with it. He has made us proud, and is a exemplary Airman who has served this country with the utmost respect and ability.
I guess “respect” is an appropriate word to describe Memorial Day, and as such we should treat it with the utmost reverence. I think many seem to forget that what had once started out as the most somber of holidays has now come to be more associated with BBQ’s, vacations, and shopping sales. It’s more than about that. From the small towns to the big cities that have parades, to the cemeteries we pass by with American flags propped in front of the headstones, to those families still grieving the loss of a son, daughter, or friend while serving, this day has real meaning to many. Please respect that and just give a kind thought or two when out enjoying ourselves these next three days over the holiday weekend. Over 200 years of our nation so many have served, and have given the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us can live in freedom and enjoy even the simple things like holiday weekends. I think we all sometimes take it for granted. Are we a perfect nation? A perfect people? Hell no, but we should still honor and hold those who served and died for our country in high esteem.
A “thank you” to all those in the U.S. Armed Forces who bravely represented America and gave it their all. We honor your sacrifice. You will not be forgotten.
Memorial Day facts –