Day of memories

“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”

– Robert G. Ingersoll

memorialdaywikiMany online images remind us that this is a day of memories, one that clashes with wishes for a “Happy Memorial Day” and with images of barbecues and shopping.

I served on an aircraft carrier. Please don’t thank me for my service today. Save those kind wishes for Veterans Day. Thank those who didn’t return for giving everything they had.

This is a day of reflection, I think. What do we have? Who helped us establish it and preserve it? Have we honored their sacrifice by doing the best we can to govern fairly within the scope of the Constitution? Were the wars that took their lives just and meaningful and necessary?

Difficult questions, I know, but more important that asking “Where can I get 25% off on my purchase of a new riding mower?”

Barbecue if you must, but don’t forget why you’re able to do it.