Memorial Day is a holiday I dread. The Google snapshot will probably give you a bit of a clue as to why:
Memorial Day is a holiday that very much, in my opinion, divides this nation. We have the supporters that recognize the holiday represents a moment to honor the loss of human beings who died while serving this nation. The second group enjoys the holiday as the dividing mark that summer is here and sales are to be enjoyed. This dichotomy was captured quite well in an article I found this morning, How Memorial Day Went From Somber Occasion to Summer Celebration. Not mentioned in the article, but also of great importance, is the reality as more and more people forget this time as a means to remember the sacrifice of our nation’s deceased service members veterans and currently serving military personnel are being thanked for their service.
I definitely cringe when I see veterans being thanked for their service on Memorial Day.
It is also equally awkward for me when I’m told, “Happy Memorial Day!”
I know it’s said with the best intentions but for me, I experienced our unit losing one of our own. I have not corrected those closest to me who make this mistake but as they get a better sense of my first deployment we tiptoe into this area of what means what and why certain things are important.
My unit held an in-country memorial service for Captain Sean Brock who died as a result of his injuries on February 2, 2005.
To me, Memorial Day will never be about the start of summer. To me, Memorial Day will never be about the sales.
On this day, I wonder how his family is doing. I will go about my day doing quiet activities with my own family but I will wonder how his siblings, parents, and widow are holding up. I will (and always will) want them to know he was cared for by our command. He was respected. His sacrifice does not deserve to go unnoticed because the meaning of this holiday gets muddled by society’s focus on attributing other meanings upon this particular day.
Those of us in the camp staying true to the original purpose behind today do not ask for much. Take a moment for those we lost. That’s it. A simple moment of silence to pay respect for every person who served and died for this nation.