There are some who will argue that it’s perfectly alright to say “Happy Memorial Day” as a greeting for the three-day weekend, given the freedoms we enjoy.

That’s nonsense.

It’s bad enough most Americans ignore Armed Forces Day. It’s bad enough that very few civilians know that May is National Military Family Appreciation Month.
But it’s pitiful that most Americans can’t seem to comprehend that Memorial Day is the one day a year we are asked to remember those who gave their lives for this country.

Let me repeat that … they gave their LIVES. Most of them were teenagers or in their twenties. Many of them left behind a spouse after being married for a very short period of time. Some of them left behind infant children who grew up never knowing one of the two people who brought them into this world with the good fortune of being born a free person.
All of them had plans for a full and long life, but they interrupted those plans because they knew that serving their country, and the risks that commitment entailed, was more important than life itself.

Their dreams and their expectations ended suddenly on a battlefield, at home or in some foreign land. Some of them are buried in unmarked graves or rest forever in the sea. Some became missing in the fog of war and will never be accounted for.

There is nothing “Happy” about that.

You want to celebrate our nation and our freedoms and show your patriotism? There’s a day for that – July 4, Independence Day, when you can go out, light up some illegal fireworks, guzzle your beverage of choice and otherwise show your American pride.

You want to honor all veterans who have served our nation, and thank those who returned from the battlefield? There’s a special occasion for that, too – Veterans Day, in November.

But Memorial Day is set aside for remembering those who died while serving their country. It is a day of remembrance of comrades, friends, and family members who have fallen in service to their country.

It is not about picnics or trips to the beach.
It is not about ballgames or enjoying a day off.
It is not about car deals or summer clothing sales.
It is not about your favorite station boasting they are “your Memorial Day station with everything you need to kick off the summer in style!”

It is about honor, duty and the ultimate sacrifice.

And finally…

There are many issues which divide us as a nation, and of course it is your right as an American to speak your mind, but today – a hallowed day of remembrance – do not abuse those warriors who protected the very freedoms that permit you to speak it.

Set aside negativity and anger. Give the Facebook political rhetoric the day off. Remember instead the heroes who have given their lives – from Lexington to Afghanistan, and all of the too many wars in between. We owe them a day filled with quiet dignity, respect and gratitude. After everything they did for us, we most certainly owe them that.

Ray Lemire ©2018 / All Rights Reserved.