In its simplest of terms – Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. They gave their lives so you, I, people they will never know, can have this opportunity to practice what we call democracy. If you think about it, really sit down and think about it (like we are supposed to do), what an enormous price.
This ultimate sacrifice does not know of skin color nor religion. This ultimate sacrifice knows neither poor nor rich. Americans from every walk of life have made this sacrifice at some point. Sadly, this day of solemn remembrance has turned into more of the unofficial kick of bash of summer via a three day holiday. And to be fair, I have friends who paid the price who could appreciate that; however, as I look around at our culture today I am beginning to wonder, do we really “get it”.
Do our children really understand the significance of the day? Do they really get the true meaning of why the day was started in the first place? I by no means am implying a kindergartner needs to understand that the bloodiest war of all time was the Civil War and that more Americans died fighting each other than all the other wars combined, but do we really spend the time to explain it?
Today many families will come together for a special day together. Other families will have to endure a day whey they realize that their son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, comrade, shipmate, battle buddy, or wingman will not be there. I, maybe selfishly, just wanted to remind everyone out there that this isn’t the 4th of July, its Memorial Day… and I am thankful to all of those who have served, are serving now, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country our country.
…and one more thing. Often overlooked are those who made the ultimate sacrifice who were not active duty military. This does not mean they were on active duty. Those who serve our nation through clandestine agencies also need to be remembered. Some of these people may get mention in the press and some only get a star.
Sometimes I think Americans need to check our exceptionalism at the door and take a minute to realize just how lucky we all truly are.