Changing Purpose

Today is the day we celebrate Memorial Day in the US.  I am old enough to remember when Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th.   Buddy Poppys were sold and everyone had one.     My hometown had a parade then ended with the local veteran’s group at the cemetery with a 21 gun salute for the military who had died.

At some point the US government thought it was more important to have a three-day holiday than to honor our military who died in service.  Time has marched on.   We now have an all volunteer army.   We say we support our troops, but talk is cheap.   Our military force is so much smaller, and many of the citizens no long have a connection to our military.  Most of us don’t have a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, father, mother cousin, sweetheart or neighbor who is currently serving or could be in harms way.   When I was in high school boys worried about being sent to Vietnam.   Everyone seemed to know someone who was affected by the war.    Of the thousands who have died and been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I don’t personally know a single family that has been affected in that way.  This personal distance and moving the holiday to a more convenient Monday has cause a loss of the meaning of Memorial Day.

Maybe  it is time for this holiday to be returned back to May 30 and force us all to think about why this holiday exists.   It is not a three-day holiday.   It is more than a day off of work.   Godspeed and thanks to all those who have given their lives in service of our country.

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