This is part 2 of a 2-part series for Memorial Day 2017.
So this is for the veterans; the ones that say “don’t tell me Happy Memorial Day” or get mad at civilians who don’t know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day and thank them for their service. They (civilians) are only doing what they know to do.
I used to be one of those vets up until a couple of years ago. You can find posts on this blog from many years back where I would write about this exact thing and be angry with civilians for doing these types of things. But I “grew out of it” when I had an epiphany a couple of years ago and realized my anger about this was wrong. I thought about the guys I know who have given their lives for this country and knowing them the way I do and knowing the way I am, I know how I would feel. I would not want to be in heaven looking down and a whole bunch of mourning on this day. Heck I would not even want people to mourn me or be sad at my funeral. I would want it to be a day to celebrate my life or celebrate the freedoms that I died for. I think that at least everyone I know who has died for this country would be the same way. Those who have fallen did so in order for us to have BBQs, enjoy an extra day off of work with our families, and celebrate the start of summer. They would want us to enjoy all the freedoms, capitalism and first world problems that the citizens of our country take for granted every day. Those that have fallen in the last 40 years all did so because they raised their right hand and volunteered knowing what the possible outcome could be.
The guys I know that are no longer here made the ultimate selfless-service sacrifice, not because they wanted medals, or parades or people to think about them one time a year. They did it to preserve the way we enjoy our lives in this country, to enjoy beer, BBQs and bacon. They did it for their friends, their loved ones, their kids, and for Americans they will never meet or ever knew.
So yes it is ok to celebrate this day, because you aren’t “Celebrating” someone dying; but rather celebrating their lives. Celebrating that we live in such an awesome Country that we have a small percentage of its citizens that stand up and walk through hell, and even giving up their lives for the greater good of the country. Celebrating that we can have beer, BBQ and bacon and even save 10% on some crap you need for the house because of that sacrifice.
And yes it’s for remembering…remembering those who did give up their lives, remembering their families and close friends who are in pain every day and who’s lives were changed forever on one dark day when a knock came at the door. It is a day for both.
I had written most of this post on Saturday, but only had a little bit left so I could post it. However I received a well-timed text from a friend and co-worker late Sunday. He has never served but he is super-patriotic. It read:
“ Thank you for your service T! The amazing lives we have is because of the men and women like you who sacrificed and selflessly served! Happy Memorial Day! Yes, I know the holiday celebrates those who died, but I am grateful to the entire armed forces”
Like I had said, 90% of this blog post was written by the time I received this text, however it just re-assured to me that the opinion and observation I had already written in his post was spot on.
For my fellow vets who may be still angry for someone “thanking” you or recognizing you on this holiday or even mixing up what this holiday means; did you ever think that maybe they were thanking you for not only being willing to make the same sacrifice as others we know, but also to thank you for taking the pain of losing a fellow soldier in a real crappy place on the other side of the world. Maybe because they don’t have that personal connection, reaching out to you and thanking you is their way to express thanks to hundreds of thousands that have fallen on the battlefield of which they have no connection to, but through you.
Some of you may not like or agree with what I wrote here, but if any of you reading knew me when I served for my 22 years, then you know I really don’t give a crap if you like it or not. I never looked for anyone’s acceptance then so I am not going to start now.
I am not saying when these things happen that you should’t be upset as that is your right. I am not saying you are right or wrong for being upset. I am just suggesting maybe take a moment and think about my words and why something is being said. Be thankful you live in a country that recognized you, your service and the sacrifice of those that have fallen. In places as modern as Germany, the military gets nowhere near the respect or gratitude that we do.
I hope all can have a celebratory and reflective Memorial Day. Regardless if you have served in combat, served only in peace-time or never served at all. Be thankful for those that have raised their right hand and pledged their allegiance to this Country and the Constitution only to lose their lives so that we all may live here and enjoy beer, BBQs and bacon, and maybe even save 10% on some of it.