Memorial Day is about remembering those who lost their lives in service to this country. I served two tours of duty in the US Marine Corps and I am proud to have done my part.
During my lifetime, we have gone from despising those in the military because they were in Vietnam, to fawning. We who served didn’t do it for the glory or recognition, nor do we deserve anyone’s ire.
However, I feel we as a nation have lost our collective understanding of certain holidays.
Holidays For The Military
There are two days set apart to honor our military, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The former is meant to honor the fallen, the latter those who served. Yet somehow, we have managed to turned every national holiday into a military one.
The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation. In other words, the United States of America were no longer part of the British Empire. And while the military played an integral role in our independence effort, the holiday is not about the military. For that matter, neither are 9/11 remembrances, Labor Day and so on.
Continually thanking and “honoring” our military with words and retail sales won’t make up for the past, nor will it quiet the demons of PTSD or alleviate the pain of a maimed body. If we want to honor our veterans, ensure there is access to adequate health care, physical and mental. This coverage should be available for as long as it is needed, life if necessary.
What Can Each Of Us Do?
A portion of public tax money is rightly used to support the active & retired military, but it isn’t enough. I am one of those who believe that corporations who create weapons should be required to pony up a fraction of the trillions they earn in profits to help fund the health care our veterans and active duty deserve.
We should all contact our elected officials and demand better treatment of our men and women in uniform.
But aside from that, on Memorial Day, enjoy your cookouts, BBQs and beverages with friends and loved ones. The freedom and security to enjoy such holidays was earned in blood. Take a moment to reflect on the cost and raise a glass to the fallen.