It would be hard for me to write a better post for Memorial Day than the one I wrote in 2017 after visiting Arlington National Cemetery. Many of you read that story. Your comments made the post so much better than I could do on my own. If you haven’t read that post, or if you want to peruse the comments, it’s over here.
Memorial Day is the day we in the US honor those who died in service to our country or, as one person mentioned in her comments on that older post, in service to the world. Recently, I’ve seen statements honoring these men and women get twisted into useless politically motivated arguments on social media. To those who would waste this occasion in service of a modern political agenda, I would say what my father said to me as I fidgeted while we watched parades on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day – “Be quiet. Show some respect!”
My father survived his service in World War II. As far as I can remember, all of our family members who served, returned home. We had family and friends who had been injured, but I don’t recall any who had lost loved ones. They all knew people who had died. Many had seen people die in front of them. They didn’t speak of those memories, but they didn’t forget. Perhaps it was too hard to talk about. Perhaps they didn’t want to burden us with what they had seen. Perhaps my father and his friends considered that a few quiet thoughts of gratefulness and respect are all they needed. Maybe that’s all we need today. Just as long as we don’t forget that they died and why they died.