Memorial Day is supposed to be a day of remembrance and reflection. To honor those who gave their lives for their country. To those who have served, it’s often a somber day. Many of us have lost friends, even family, in military service.
It’s a day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, to those who gave their lives. I’d like to say that means a great deal to our country… but I’m afraid I’d be lying if I did.
War and hardship are things that are foreign to the vast majority of Americans. The very concept of fighting and dying is an alien idea to many. Less than .45% of Americans serve in the military. The vast majority of Americans haven’t been exposed to the military in any real sense.
The cost of war, the sacrifices made, are something that isn’t real to many. Until you lose a father, brother, sister, mother, daughter, or son, it isn’t something that hits home. Until you spend six, twelve, or sixteen months of anxiously worrying about a loved one who is in a combat zone, none of it is really real.
And that’s the way most Americans like it. They want war to remain something that is distant and unknown. That’s the reason that many of us serve, after all, to protect our nation from those hard truths.
Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen… but it’s also a day to remind us all of the cost –the terrible human cost– spent in protecting our nation. I ask that if you haven’t been a part of that cost, that you take some time from your day. Go to your local veteran’s cemetery and walk among the tombstones. Visit a civil war or revolutionary war battlefield. If you’re abroad, visit Normandy Beach or Bastogone or one of countless other places where men fought and died for the freedoms that we all take for granted.
Remember them, honor them. They died for you. It’s the least you can do.