In Memoriam

flag of u s a standing near tomb
Photo by Sharefaith on

Every November 11, I call, text, or email our many veteran friends and thank them for their service. Why? Because that’s the designated day on the secular calendar on which all veterans are recognized in the States for their selfless service to their country. While there is some confusion surrounding this holiday, mainly having to do with if one recognizes active duty veterans or if this is a day set aside for those who are no longer in active service to the empire, it is by and large recognized for what it is.

What’s rarely recognized for what it is, is Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day. This holiday was initiated in the years following the War Between the States but wasn’t officially declared a national holiday until 1971. It was then, and should still be, a day to honor those who have served and died a veteran. It’s a day to honor the dead. Where we’ve gone off the tracks a bit with this day is two-fold. While it is a day of decorating the graves of the fallen, it has somehow grown into decorating the graves of entire families and entire cemeteries. This secular holiday has ebbed out the liturgical calendar in this aspect. There’s a day for decoration and recognizing all our dead. It’s called All Souls Day and is celebrated also in November. This should be when entire cemeteries get decorated and prayers for the happy repose of the souls of our deceased family members sent up without ceasing. Secondly, people tend to confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day, mentioned above. Memorial Day isn’t now and has never been a day to celebrate and is definitely not a day to wish happy to a living veteran.

I don’t mean to embarrass anyone and this definitely isn’t a rant. I’m just simply pointing out why when someone may wish a veteran a happy Memorial Day, the veteran may look at you as if you’ve lost your mind, and some may even get angry and growl a bit. It’s simple really. They aren’t exactly so much angry at you for the faux pas as they may be hurting. You see, Memorial Day is the day designated once a year on which they can honor their fellow, fallen brethren and remember them. It’s not exactly a happy day for these men and women in arms at all, at least not for those who’ve seen the losses racked up for the cause, whichever one is en vogue at the moment, and understand the true meaning of the day, which most do.

For these men and women, this day has absolutely nothing to do with backyard cookouts, strawberry shortcakes, apple pies, pool parties, and swilling one down at the local watering hole, although some may have a toast in honor of their mate who didn’t make it back. However, they do recognize your right to celebrate, even if the celebration is misplaced in honor of the “first” weekend of summer and misgiven to living veterans everywhere. In fact, the day is somber at our house. But, MarshFox, along with countless others, are okay with the celebrations going on at yours, because they know the real reason for the day. Someone fought and died to keep the boogeyman off the door, and the fact that our freedom is secured for one more day is cause enough for you to grill a dog and drink a frothy one, even as we may be mourning.

Enjoy your celebrations, safely we pray, just please, don’t wish our household a happy Memorial Day. Although a veteran, and while he’ll most likely not tell you himself instead nodding in acknowledgment of the misplaced honor, he’s still among us while so many of our friends have gone on to guard the golden streets. And today, we sit in somberness, remembering them fondly and missing them, and thanking God for people like them who’ve given everything so we can have peace.

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