Memorial Day is not ‘happy’

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Memorial Day and it’s meaning. I wrote this eight years ago. And I posted the screenshot below on Facebook six years ago.

But I keep seeing people post “HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!” and talk about big parties and Memorial Day celebrations. And, like…just no. No. NO!

There isn’t anything happy about this holiday. We’ve really lost the meaning of what this day is honoring. It’s called Memorial Day because the people we are “celebrating” aren’t alive anymore. This is a day that is painful for a great many people. Families and individuals alike.

For many people your bbq is a reminder that if they held one, a loved one would be missing. A mother, a father, a brother, a sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, husband, wife, friend, battle buddy, neighbor. It’s a day we should take to reflect on exactly what these people gave their lives for. Are we honoring their memories and sacrifice? Are we becoming better as a nation? As a society? As a person?

The families of these people have made a hard sacrifice. Being part of a military family is hard. The worry and stress are always there. And I’m just a #MilSis. I can’t imagine being a mil spouse to someone who is deployed. The worry must be agonizing. And Memorial Day must be an excruciating reminder to the family left behind.

So, let’s do better. Let’s honor the ultimate sacrifice they’ve made, and their families live with every day, and strive to be better; to focus less on what divides us and more on what we have in common. It’s okay to disagree on how to fix things, but let’s at least agree on what’s broken. And then find common ground on workable solutions. And advance those solutions so we can heal what’s fractured. Let’s take a page from the Aaron Burr book of advice and “talk less.” But, perhaps let’s ignore the advice of settling things with a duel?

The best thing we can do to honor their memory and sacrifice is to be willing to listen to uncomfortable information just because it doesn’t match our own experience. We are hurting as a nation, but we can heal. We just have to be willing to give as much of ourselves as the people we are honoring did.

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