I rarely do much for Memorial Day and I find it perverse that the day should be be dedicated to cookouts and sales. Each year I see more and more messages about how we should take time to remember those who have fallen on our behalf. In my opinion, it’s not enough to overcome the perversion.
I wouldn’t mind celebrating in honor of our fallen fighters, if it were like one of those New Orleans or Irish funerals that I see on T.V. (never actually been to one), where part of the day is spent mourning and part of the day is spent creating joy. But that’s not what we do here. During Memorial day the joy is due to having a long weekend during the Spring and mourning is nothing more than a break in the celebration. What we should be doing is celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of our heroes and then, as an aside, enjoying the long weekend. The difference may be subtle to an observer, but it’s a matter of aligning priorities.
As for me, since I don’t much of either, I perhaps shouldn’t talk. I’m spending the day like any other, and taking a moment to write a blog post. If I were at a cookout right now, I’d probably be a bit of wet blanket, so perhaps it’s best that I’m home.
I don’t agree with every war and while I take the time to remember those who have sacrificed everything for my freedom, I also take the time to remember that innocent people die when we drop bombs or shoot at buildings. For me, the day must be at least a little bit sad so that we are motivated to reduce, as much as possible, the horrible practice of using our military to solve our conflicts.
I won’t be spending the day visibly mourning the fallen, watching parades, or visiting cemeteries, but I will use this day to remember the sacrifices of better people than I and to contemplate the horror of war.
So that’s my Memorial Day message. Don’t just take a moment to honor those who have fallen, take the day to do so, and take a moment to enjoy the day.