Over the last few days I’ve seen posted on social media people feeling the need to point out that Memorial Day is the day to remember those in the Armed Forces who have fallen in combat. And it’s not just that they want you to remember that it’s for the fallen, but to point out that it’s not about those that are still alive. I even read another blog written by a service member who talked about how they hate it when people try to thank them for serving their country on Memorial Day or Armed Forces Day or any day other than Veteran’s Day, because as a veteran that’s the only time someone should thank them, and so that’s when they acknowledge such sentiment. First off, that sounds extremely rude and a poor reflection on military members when someone gets thanked and they ignore it except for one day a year. However, I don’t at all understand the concept that we should leave out anyone who is or has served their country on this day, even though it is set aside specifically for those no longer among us.
Today we should remember that our freedom has been protected by so many lives laid down in service to this country. There have been many wars fought, and even now there are troops out there trying to stop anyone who wishes to harm America. Men and women have died while we sit at home enjoying those freedoms that they gave up. Because when you serve in the military you do give up a lot of freedoms. You don’t get to choose where you live. You don’t get to say and do as you wish even off duty because you’re always on duty and you’re always representing the military. You don’t even get to choose what you do with your hair, nails, even piercings and body art all have regulations on them. And you definitely don’t get to up and quit because you decide you don’t want to be there anymore. You give up a lot, and all the while knowing that you could be put in the position to make the ultimate sacrifice. I think that’s something that should be recognized every day of the year.
Because for those who are serving, they may not get out of that service alive, and shouldn’t we thank them when we have the chance, and not way until the next Memorial Day. And for the Veterans, they may have survived, but there’s a chance they may have lost someone, and when you thank them they can accept it for their fallen brethren. I remember my dad talking about seeing his uncle tear up when talking about losing his friend in WWII. Not only did he die right in front of him, but my great uncle had to leave him behind and keep going in order to complete his mission. I believe on Memorial Day thanking him would let him know that people appreciated the sacrifice his friend made. So while we honor the dead, let us not forget the living.