There will be no episode of TSP today in recognition of Memorial Day. I do want to take a moment to remind everyone today of what Memorial Day is all about. Many well meaning people even get it wrong in a way. My inbox tends to fill up with “thanks for your service” emails around Memorial Day. I appreciate it, there is nothing wrong with thanking a vet today, yet it is not really the day to thank vets many seem to believe it to be.
It seems to me that many think Memorial Day is like Veterans Day Part Two, it isn’t. Again no day is a bad day to thank a vet but if we become convinced that Memorial Day is about those of us that served and came back home, we miss the point. Memorial Day is more somber, it is about those who fell in battle and never again got up, it is about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, it bluntly is about those who died.
Today at some point just pause and think about that. Think about the 4,400 of our US service members that have fallen in Iraq, the 2,300 in Afghanistan, the 47,000 in Vietnam, 33,000 in Korea, 291,000 in WWII, 53,000 in WWI or perhaps the 212,000 that fell on both sides in the War Between the States.
You don’t have to be for any war past or present to respect men and women who will give their lives for what they believe and fight the wars that politicians initiate. There are days for just about everything now. Days for bosses, secretaries, days for this and that and anything Hallmark can come up with.
What you won’t find in most greeting card stores is a Memorial Day Card, because those who would receive the card can’t open it, read it and feel good that someone cares. All they can hope for is that someone remembers their sacrifice, perhaps a flower or a wreath on their graves (if they even have one) or a comrade who is now living with a zeal for life in their memory.
Memorial day my friends is to remember those who served and died. Enjoy the day off if you have it, just try to remember the cost of this day. Some say you can’t count the cost, sadly you can and the numbers are very large. If you want to put it in perspective, just view the US Military Casualties of War Page on Wikipedia.
I will end with this though. There are some that begrudge all the back yard BBQs, trips to the beech and flat out enjoying of a day off. They seem to feel we should all wear sack cloths and put ashes on our faces today. I disagree, in fact very much so. While I truly feel our nation should stop interfering around the world in so many ways, I know the hearts of those who serve. They believe in what they are defending.
And a family in a back yard, joyfully sharing each others company symbolizes that better than any statue, wall or memorial ever could. It is okay to be happy today, those who fell would want you to, just take a simple moment in this day and recall their sacrifice.