Memorial Day seems to be falling out of “fashion” with a lot of folks. That makes me sad, and a bit angry if I really dwell upon it.
My ultimate online reference, Wikipedia says:
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed this year on 2007–05-28). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.
For much more information, go read on!
In my community, only the VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) and the Elks do much for the day. No big parade, no fireworks… It has become a “Whooohooo, Summer’s here!” party time, which hardly does justice to the remembrance my area has been respecting since just after the Civil War. You see, some cities were honoring their military dead at least that far back. I don’t mind that it has grown to include a general concept of service or a day of honor for all the dearly departed in our lives, but to equate it only with summer fun is a bit shallow, if I may say so. If you’re living in the USA, you’re enjoying freedoms that our veterans fought and died for. Please take a moment to reflect on that. Freedom really isn’t free, after all.
I’m going to borrow an idea from Sue and have a little personal Memorial Day roll call:
First, those still living:
My father inlaw : US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis (Only recently have those serving then been recognized as vets of a foreign WAR, as the US didn’t declare war… same with Korea and much more. Sigh.)
My grandfather inlaw: US Army, WWII, Germany
My uncle and godfather: US Army, Vietnam, Vietnam jungles
My long-time former boss and life-long family friend: US Army, Vietnam, also “in country”, earned a Purple Heart
My stepson’s stepfather: US Army, Afghanistan
All the guys and gals from the fire department, representing every branch of the US Military
Next, those still serving:
My cousin’s husband: US Navy
My dear friend and former co-worker: US Navy, two tours in Iraq
Another friend and former co-worker: US Army, just back from Iraq
My second cousin: US Navy
My friend’s husband: US Navy
Another friend’s husband: US Army
(And yes, I know where they are, but I don’t know how classified their locations might be, so…)
And last, but not least, those who have died, but served:
My father: US Marine Corps, Korea
My uncle: US Army, Vietnam War, Germany
More of the firefighters, also representing several branches of the Military
Yet another Uncle: US Army, WWII, Europe. Lost both legs to compression complications later in life. He became my uncle because he and his best friend enlisted together, and he promised his friend to take care of the friend’s girlfriend if something happened. The friend was killed in combat, and the rest is history.
I’m sure I forgot a few, and I wish I could have named all the friends and former co-workers by name, because they deserve the honor, but I’d still be typing in an hour or so. So, my sincere thanks to those who served and are serving, and to their families.
Happy Memorial Day to all of you.