It’s Memorial Day

On the radio last night, I heard a talk-show host say I hope there’s lots of laughter at YOUR house this holiday weekend. Lots of laughter? Was she kidding? Does she know that it’s MEMORIAL DAY? It’s a solemn holiday, not a holiday to plan a pool party and rationalize drinking a couple of six-packs at the neighbor’s late on Sunday night because we don’t have to go to work on Monday morning.

The host’s wishes for a good time this holiday weekend were, I have to say, typical of the kinds of sentiments I’ve heard uttered on this particular holiday for years. Paul wrote about this same topic, but I felt compelled to also share my experiences with holiday well wishers.

Memorial Day: It’s a day to honor those Americans—men and women, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues—who have died while fighting in the wars that the rest of us have been too afraid to fight, too old to fight, or too unable to fight. We send brave, patriotic, dedicated Americans, many of them just children, off to foreign countries while the rest of us continue to safely sip coffee at Starbuck’s and watch the evening news from the comfort of our Barcoloungers. And to honor these people, is this how we’re supposed to spend Memorial Day—deciding whether we want relish on our hot dogs and complaining that it’s too cold to go swimming?

I can’t wait for someone to ask me whether I had a barbecue or went to any parties this weekend so that I can reply with No, I stayed home and wept for all of the brave soldiers who gave their lives while doing the job that people like me would never do.


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