“Happy Memorial Day”

Last week I received an email with a note at the bottom that said, “Happy Memorial Day!” I thought to myself, “Happy”? How dare they? Memorial Day is a solemn occasion.

But then I thought about the average American. For the vast majority, Memorial Day is a long weekend, kicking off the beginning of summer. We’ve done such a great job protecting them, there is no significant connection to the sacrifice our service members have made to this nation. We’ve lost touch with one another. But while they’ve forgotten, it doesn’t mean I have to. I can take the advice and still remember those who gave all.

Some were friends. Others relatives. Most, I never knew. All too often, they died in battle. Still more succumbed later to wounds, both visible and invisible. A few even passed away from old age. Even so, those wounds, they still hurt.

But across all of that suffering were good times. So this year I’m going to honor those who’ve gone before me by thinking happy thoughts about them. For today, I’ll think of the jokes and the smiles. After all, I can’t think of a better way to remember them.

15 Responses to ““Happy Memorial Day””

  1. Stefan S. says:

    On a whole, most Americans are too stupid to understand what Memorial Day means. But if you asked them about the latest celeb gossip or a sports team, you’ll get enough info there.

  2. MK262 MOD1 says:

    Great post.
    I could go on a world class rant about the divide between those who are/have/will serve a cause greater than themselves and the masses whose lives revolve around meaningless bs. But I won’t in deference to those we honor.
    I will offer this though. I live every day in the thought that it is a gift many of my friends didn’t get. I hug my son and my wife for those that can’t hug theirs. I hate running but I do it because i can. When I savor the rare cold beer I do it for myself and for the men with whom I’ve shared countless, but can no more.
    I agree completely that Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance. Somewhere in my day will be at least a while of quiet time where I will allow the vault door to creep open and revisit memories I normally keep sequestered. But I will also sit in the sun, and laugh with my family, and do my best to squeeze every moment of the day for all it can offer. Because I can, and… for them.

  3. Chris B says:

    Just had a BBQ at the in laws house. 20 people there from her family (closest one of mine is 675 miles away) and not a single word about Memorial Day to me. Good people, but no clue…..

    • Darkhorse says:

      I had the same experience yesterday. Nobody on my wife’s side of the family made any mention of Memorial Day aside from my wife.

  4. JKifer says:

    Sadly, its too true sir, too true… I’ll be working (as I’m sure many a SSD reader will be..), keeping those and theirs safe this Memorial day… remember what we do is absolutely thankless… and we do it for each other..

    I suck with words.. so hear it is..

  5. Marcus says:

    A solemn day, indeed. But one where we can be “happy” and cherish the freedom that so many have sacrificed so much for.

    We have family planted in Europe and etched on walls. We won’t be forgetting them, we will be thanking them.

    • Pete says:

      This week, a buddy’s family is placing a headstone for a great uncle lost in the South Pacific. The pain of loss may become less sharp to over time but never gone, even 75 years later.

      It is a bittersweet day, but those lives sacrificed were more about the sweet than the bitter sentiment. To cherish the freedom is right, it is sweeter when you know the cost.

  6. PTMcCain says:

    Well said…and maybe it just me … but it really grates on me when people can not keep straight the unique differences between Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day.

  7. Easy E says:

    Memorial Day is a happy day for me. It’s happy because I know there are still men and women willing to give everything for others. I remember those that didn’t come home with me when deployed, and I’m grateful for their sacrifice — and I think their sacrifice should be celebrated.

    • Ranger Rick says:

      They, the soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coastguardsman should be celebrated as well as their sacrifice, we endure as a country to be their testament.

  8. Chris says:

    Well said.

  9. Mike says:

    “Support our troops they fight for your freedom”

    “As a service member I demand you celebrate this holiday how I say, when I say, and for the reasons I say you must.”

    Amazing how those two attitudes can exist within the same brain.

    We fight for the freedoms the citizenry enjoy. Their freedom justifies hotdogs and pool parties just as much as it justifies visiting the local war monuments or joining in solumn rememberance of our fallen heroes.

    There’s also the irony of the snowflake behavior. Veterans are so opposed to snowflake culture…but here they are throwing a tantrum when they’re offended. A snowfake can say “Cinco de Mayo isn’t an American holiday just to get drunk!” and we all laugh and mock them. But today veterans say “This isn’t a civilian holiday! HOW DARE YOU SAY HAPPY VETERANS DAY!” and expect their feelings be respected.

    Just. Sayin.

    • Ranger Rick says:

      Mike, I say Happy Veteran’s Day to my fellow veterans on that day. It is a happy occasion, time to recall the time that time and place we served because there were many occasions that we laughed and joked and enjoyed life. Memorial Day is the day we honor the fallen, both on the battlefield, but also in training, each made a sacrifice, and we are the beneficiaries of that sacrifice.

      America is different, we don’t dwell on death and war, we don’t carry nobility titles and most of us put our service away when we are done, in a place that sometimes few know about. Sometimes it’s hard, but that’s the country we are, perhaps that is why we’re so optimistic?

      Memorial Day is for the falken, their families and comrades, if others don’t understand the significance it is their ignorance and nothing to dwell on.

  10. JP says:

    What most Americans don’t realize is that for the families and friends of veterans who died overseas, Memorial Day is everyday of the year.