Memorial Day & Veterans Day
I planned on writing this quite some time ago, but with the new job and some other things going on I’ve been super busy.
The idea for this post came from seeing a status update on Facebook about someone I know being upset about people thanking him for his service on Memorial Day and never wanted to hear “happy” in the same sentence with the holiday. I knew the difference in the holidays, but didn’t realize that how I observe the holiday could offend some veterans or men/woman currently in the armed forces. I asked some of the people I know that served or are serving for their opinion.
I received a mix of responses on both side of the fence. Many said I could quote them, but after I thought about it I chose not to, except for the last. I’d rather not get some names out there and people fighting, I doubt it would happen, but I’ve seen lesser issues cause it.
“Happy Memorial Day doesn’t offend me…we should be happy that our country is worth fighting for AND great heroes before us have stood up and answered the call.” This is what I always thought of Memorial day, yes, it is to honor those who have fallen in service, but if we just see this as a solemn holiday do we realize that our country is worth it? “I understand most people, even if they understand the meaning of Memorial Day, just don’t have the words, don’t know what to say. “Contemplative Memorial Day” sounds weird. Where I have a problem with it is when people forget. Then I hear “Happy Government mandated day off of work.”
Similar to the last response, this one is something I see as more of an issue rather than to thank or not, “I believe when they attached the 3 day weekend Memorial Day the holiday lost significance. It became a weekend to start the summer and head out to the lake. The spirit of the holiday was intended to be a day of mourning those lost in WWI.” I think this is a real problem with the holiday, it’s seen more as a day of partying at the lake, getting drunk, and kicking off summer, even if it is with family. “I really don’t think that the vast majority of the American people understand the true significance of either day.”
From the responses I received, it seemed there was more of an issue of how the two days are observed rather than how or why people thank servicemen and women. This issue has definitely made me think a bit differently of both days and how I will observe them, one response I received had a suggestion on how to observe memorial day or at least one thing to do, “I think it is important to take our children to the cemetery to decorate the graves of those who died in battle on Memorial Day. It helps bring home the impact of what is necessary in order to protect and defend our Constitution and Country.” While I always seen this done for family, doing it for any fallen soldier really does make you realize how many have fallen to protect this country. However one veteran I know said this, “While I have always appreciated veteran’s day, I always felt supremely awkward about accepting thanks for doing my job. We don’t have accountant days, lawyer days, etc.” I know some veterans are hesitant to accept thanks because they’ve seen their friends die in service, they’ve been by their side, but the truth is, while they have those horrible memories, we appreciate their sacrifice more than they’ll ever know, I only hope that the veterans I know realize this.
“America cannot afford to forget the price of freedom and to honor those who have provided that gift to us.” – David Bounds