I Cannot Put the Words Happy and Memorial Day Together


I am up very early this morning.  I was lying in bed thinking that I wanted to write something new on this Memorial Day.  I didn’t want to just drag out things of past years and go on my merry way.  There will be no web page lead in to hock my books; that can return tomorrow.  War is a nightmare that I can only imagine.  No, that’s not right.  I can’t imagine it, I have never been there.  Maybe it is because I’ve never been there that I am oh so grateful to the ones who have.

Today we remember the ones that sacrificed their lives for the rest of us.  War has gotten too easy for most Americans.  We are not burdened at all when the government decides it is time to “put boots on the ground.”  It is easy to give our men and women in uniform a quick cheer and be on our way.  Not today, today we all should darn well stop and think about what this day means.

I know this will be a day of fun on the beach and get-togethers around the grill.  It is the unofficial beginning of summer and vacation time is coming.  People will say, “Happy Memorial Day,” but I can’t bring myself to put those words together, any other holiday, but not today.

There were so many that gave their lives so many that knew full well that doing their duty meant that they would likely not survive the day, and they didn’t.  I’m talking about the soldiers that were asked to stand in the front line at Lexington and Concord in their makeshift militia watching one of the most powerful armies in the world march toward them.  I’m talking about the soldiers that marched into the cannon fire going up the hill at Fredericksburg or charged into Bloody Angel at the Spotsylvania Courthouse.  I’m talking about the soldiers in the first boats to hit Normandy Beach.  I’m talking about the soldiers and marines that took point in the jungle in Vietnam.  What kind of courage does it take to take your position knowing full well your chances of survival are very low?  What kind of strength of will does one have to muster?  What love of country does one have to have?

And for every one of our fallen heroes there was a family back home waiting.  How many times have you seen it in the movies or on TV?  How many times have you seen that scene where the family watches the well-dressed service people slowly get out of their car and approach their door?  The family knows what’s coming and their hearts are being crushed.  What courage does it take for them to open that door?  What courage does it take and stand there at the grave site and receive the flag from a grateful nation?  To all of you that have lost a loved one, today is your day and the rest of us should get down on our knees in gratitude.

Go out there and have fun today, but hold a tear in your eye.  This day is for our fallen heroes and their families that miss them so much and I, for one, cannot put the words happy and Memorial Day together.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Memorial Day, Opinion

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