This weekend is Memorial Day in the U.S. as most (if not all) of you know. Â When I was a kid, this was (next to Xmas) one of my favorite holidays. Â I helped my dad several times build floats for the Memorial Day Parade, I went with him on the Sunday two weeks Â before to help raise money for Disabled American Veterans, and on the Sunday before to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with American Flags. Â I’d help sell (well at least I thought I was helping) Poppies. Â I’d run and collect .30-06 shells from the rifles used for the 21 gun salute and several times I got to march with him and his War Veterans Post in the Memorial Day Parade.
But I must admit, it has been a long time since I have really enjoyed the holiday. Â People talk about Xmas losing its “meaning” (don’t get me started on that one), but I don’t know if any holiday has lost more of its true meaning than Memorial Day.
What is Memorial Day? Â Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) is a day set aside to Honor and commemorate those that lost their lives defending this country in a time of war.
Now I am not saying that people need to sit around and mourn or be solemn on this day. Â I actually think and like the traditions ofÂ Barbecues and festivities that often take place. Â Think of it as a giant Irish Wake to celebrate the lives of these brave men and women that have given their lives.
What Memorial Day ISN’T.
It isn’t JUST the “unofficial start of summer.” Â While you are enjoying those burgers and cold drinks, don’t forget to remember those people that gave their lives so that you could enjoy those things.
Just as importantly (though some may not realize they are doing this), Memorial Day is most definitely NOT a day to use the military as your political pawn. Â It is not a day to try and tell people how much more patriotic you are than somebody else.
It is not a day to make a statement about policies you would like to see enacted (or repealed).
Using these brave souls as a tool on this day is a disgrace to their memories… but yes, you do have a right to do it if you want, thanks at least in part to their sacrifices.
Remember those that have died in defending our country.
Celebrate in their honor.
Thank those living that continue to carry on those missions.
Leave the rhetoric until Tuesday… don’t worry, it isn’t going anywhere.