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Monday Is Memorial Day

In: Social Issues

Submitted By poindexterbjj
Words 613
Pages 3
Many of us will put on our dress uniforms and stand in formation or march in parade. Many of us will seek the companionship of other veterans; they’re the only people who really understand.

Flags will fly at half-mast. Bagpipes will wail. “Taps” will play. Formations will fly with a missing man, and riderless horses will walk. Guns will fire in salute.

Some of us will remember brothers lost generations ago. Others among us will remember losses far more recent. Some of us will silently remember. Many of us will talk about them, and wonder why it wasn’t us. Some will say we were just that good. Most will say we were lucky. Others will concede it was simply God bailing us out. Whatever the reason, however, we will remember. We will reflect. We will mourn.

Often, when soldiers go about the business of soldiering, the rest of the world goes on and barely notices us. Monday will be no different. As we stand in salute, grills will be fired up. Pools will be splashed into. Beaches will be visited, and beers will be popped open. The people of this country will enjoy their day off, but how many will realize what it is for? How many people will consider what it means? While many will know there is a parade, how many will know why there is a parade?

Please understand, I have nothing against bar-be-ques. I have nothing against beaches, pools, or beer. These are all great things. But I think most Americans take them for granted. I don’t know if it was always this way, or if this is the result of the general apathy associated with my generation. I suspect there has always been a difference between us and civilians. I also suspect there was a time when civilians appreciated us more.

This country, our way of life, is not a birthright. What we have, we achieved at a great price. And do you want to know something; we don’t even own it. We rent it. Its price is blood, sweat, and devotion. Only a few of us take responsibility for the lease. Some of us have paid more of it than others.

If we ever stop paying on this lease, we’ll lose everything. I certainly don’t believe most civilians understand just how possible that is. Some do, this is apparent. Most, however, have no clue.

A man of insight once said, “The noblest fate a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his beloved home and the war’s desolation.” These men and women accepted privation, wounds, and even death, that an ideal might live. What do they get in return? On the day set aside to honor them, they get to be remembered by a small minority of us, while everyone else enjoys their pool and bar-be-que.

On behalf of my fellow veterans, I invite the American public to the ceremonies on Monday. Let me be perfectly clear, the ceremonies, not just the parades. Join us in the cemeteries. Hear the bagpipes and the bugles. See the flag draped casket. Look upon the rows of headstones with flags. View our pageantry. Hear the guns.

Maybe then more will appreciate what we have. Maybe more will take ownership for this country. Maybe more will fight, serve (not just militarily), run, and vote. Maybe more will pay attention to what is going on in the world, and work to make this country (and the world) better.

Join us on Monday. We, as a people and a country, can only be better for it.

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