This was written by my son who served 4 years in the USMC with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it is worthy of our attention this Memorial Day.
I love the big sporting events, beach trips, cookouts, pool parties, and camping trips people plan for Memorial Day weekend. Those are good things in life and there is nothing wrong with slowing down a little to enjoy them. However, I do hate that many people don’t even know what Memorial Day represents. I don’t like that for many it’s just another day off work. I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t express that I have grown uncomfortable with how our society (self included) treats this weekend.
I really think there should be a balance to celebrating the lives of the fallen on Memorial Day while also solemnly respecting the sacrifices that were made for us. If we made a conscious effort to show some gratitude for the fallen, I do think our children could learn from this. The blood that has been spilled for us is real, and it came from people with real families and real dreams. Maybe this year we should stop for the national moment of remembrance, throw our party in memory of a specific person who was killed in action, visit a local memorial, watch a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, or do something creative that teaches our kids what Memorial Day truly is. I don’t think it needs to be a completely somber day, but we’ve strayed pretty far from the roots of this holiday.
We should honor those that died by living lives worth living and enjoying the freedom they defended. The day off work and school that comes with cookouts and mattress sales actually means people died for our nation. Real. People. Died. All so we can live the life we live. Please stop and think about that. Our children deserve to know that Veterans Day and Memorial Day are distinctly different. They need to learn that “Happy” Memorial Day isn’t entirely appropriate. If that’s hard for you to understand, imagine if you sat down and chatted with a Gold Star mother. Your perspective would definitely change. As for my family, we are going to take a few moments to pray and give thanks for our freedoms and the sacrifices others have made for us. After all, it’s just a moment...many have given the rest of their life.