Memorial Day has come to mean a long weekend, a getaway trip, a sale, Figawi, a barbecue, another occasion to get drunk while the sun is still out. And I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s not what Memorial Day is about.
Memorial Day is about commemorating a sacrifice. The military women and men sacrificing their lives, not only by dying for our freedom, but losing limbs and not being able to stand and cheer for their children at sports games. By missing the weddings, births, first communions and graduations of the ones they love and attending far more funerals than anyone their age should. It’s about the families constantly living in fear of whether or not they will ever know the comfort of hugging their military man or woman again. It’s about the children that lose parents and the women and men losing the loves of their lives. It’s about the sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen, and guardians that return feeling alone and afraid even though they’ve been welcomed home with open arms, unable to get a full night’s sleep or assimilate to normal civilian life, or even get full medical coverage for work related injuries or illness. It’s about appreciating the selflessness that drives these people to defend their country.
It repulses me to see people take for granted the privilege that is to be American, almost as much as disrespect/lack of appreciation for our troops does. Whether or not you support our foreign endeavors, you absolutely owe every ounce of your ovation to the people that risk their lives for this country, and the families enduring unbearable pain in their absences.
Eat hot dogs, drink beer, enjoy the beach, but take a moment to consider the heart ache, bloodshed and altruism that brought this holiday into existence in the first place.