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.

Happy Memorial Day?


Yesterday was Memorial Day. And while I certainly enjoyed my time with family and friends who were enjoying a three day weekend, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about what this day is really about.

I heard numerous times on television the phrase ” Happy Memorial Day!” I read the same sentiments across multiple social media forums, online newspapers, and even on radio ads. And every time I heard it it made me really stop and think.

Is this day really happy?


I don’t really think so. I think this day is a bit of a conundrum (and I think a lot of people misunderstand what this day is really “celebrating”). For me, Memorial Day isn’t as much about a celebration, though we do spend the weekend at the lake eating good food and taking boat rides, as it is about pausing to remember the more than 600,000 soldiers who have given their lives serving this nation. Sacrificed their existence so we are safe and free to continue ours.

When I think about the families of those we are honoring on this day, my heart explodes with compassion and gratitude. For many forget that those left behind continue to pay the price of their soldier’s sacrifice everyday. They must continue to “soldier on” in the face of grief, sorrow, anger, resent, hopelessness and fear everyday.

So while yes, I did indeed have a happy weekend, I never stopped remembering why yesterday was such an important day.


And with that, I say one final thing;

Thank you to every soldier who sacrificed their life so that I could continue to live mine freely. Thank you to every soldier who never made it home. Thank you to every soldier whose family is one member less. And thank you to the families of those who fell, for your sacrifice is worth the same gratitude.


We Should All Be Thankful for Our Veterans

I probably don’t say thank you to our veterans enough.  None of us do.  To many, just saying thank you probably seems so empty.  It feels like it has lost some of it’s meaning.  It can come off as hollow.  “oh, you’re a veteran?  Thank you for your service.”  It seems like such an automatic response.

I read an article recently, which I want to link to but can’t seem to find, by a veteran who said he wishes people would stop thanking him.  For all the reasons I mentioned above.  At first, I was really irritated by the article.  Especially because my brother is currently deployed.  My sister in law served in Iraq.  My father was in the Air Force.  My grandfather fought with the Navy in WWII.  My uncles went throught Vietnam.  I have had cousins in the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard.  Members of my family have served in every branch of the United States military.  But as I read through his points, I understood what he was getting at.  He didn’t want someone to thank him because they felt obligated to.  And that makes sense.  But I fundamentally disagree with him.

We should not stop saying thank you.  What we should do is start meaning it again.  I always try to say thank you to someone who has served or is currently serving.  Because I truly mean it when I say “thank you for your service.”  What I’m really saying is, “thank you for protecting me.”

Because that’s truly what our men and women who serve are doing.  They are protecting us.  From dangers seen and unseen.  Known and unkown.  They are voluntarily giving up time with their families to ensure that I have the safety to spend time with mine.

And I’m a complete stranger to most of them.

That’s why I think it’s important to say thank you.  Because we are all strangers.  Yet they serve for us.  Because of them, I know I don’t have to fight.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

A Decade Later

Where were you when…

That’s the question today, isn’t it?

I remember with vivid detail that day. For starters, it was beautiful. Sunny, blue sky. I was a freshman at the University of Central Oklahoma. I was driving to my first class of the day – Music Theory.

I remember wishing my radio in the car worked because the 25 minute drive was sort of boring and I usually listened to NPR. I’m a geek, what can I say.

When I arrived at class, the room was unusually empty. I walked back into the hallway to check for a missed announcement about class being cancelled. One of my class mates saw me and said “we’re in here.” She was talking about the room next door – it had a tv. She told me an airplane had hit one of the towers in New York.

As we stood in that room, watching history unfold before our eyes, we all gasped in collective shock and horror as we saw a second plane crash into the other tower. I remember tears starting to form in my eyes.

My classes were cancelled and all I could do was cry. I felt numb. I kept thinking “why would someone do such a thing?” “WHO would do such a terrible thing?”

Now, a decade later, I think the question should be “where are we NOW….

Are we safer as a nation? More united as a whole? Are we less? The same?

My hope, for our nation, is that we never forget that hatred lives. But I hope we remember, too, that love, peace and kindness DO triumph. That goodness prevails over evil. That lightness drives out darkness.

I hope ordinary citizens continue to be heroes for their families, friends and neighbors. That the lives lost and the sacrifices made live on in each of us.

That we continue to heal. We pause to remember, look back. But that as we do so, we remember to continue to look forward. Toward the future. Toward hope. Peace. Love. Kindness.

So, where were YOU when…. And where are you NOW?

09.11.2001/09.11.2011 never forgotten.




Victory: [vik-tuh-ree; vik-tree]; noun: a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.

I sit here writing with mixed emotions; trying to find the right mix of words that will so eloquently express my feelings.  But it’s hard to find those words – words that celebrate death.  Even the death of a such a  cruel and unarguably evil person.

In the words of Clarence Darrow “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

That’s sort of in line with how I feel; but not quite.  Death is a sad ordeal.  And while I’m not sad about his death, I am sad so many others have had to meet their deaths too soon because of him.

I really can’t help but feel a sense of overwhelming relief for the future safety of our wonderful planet.  I just can’t help but feel that our world is truly a much better place.

I understand why people were celebrating in the streets; it’s a sense of RELIEF!  FINALLY!  The man who gave the order to murder thousands of precious lives is gone.  He can never give that order again.

Again, I feel a sense of relief.  I feel a little bit safer.  And while I’m not so naive to believe that his death brings some sort of finality this whole thing – I know that things will get worse before they begin to get better- but, I know that things will get better!  Things will be safer.

My brother will be a little bit safer while he’s gone.  You’ll  be safer.

So, I say yes, this is indeed a victory.