I hate, with unrivaled passion, when people say, "Happy Memorial Day!" Especially when said with shallow exuberance. To me, and I may be taking this a shade too far with my analogy but, it's the equivalent of someone singing Booby McFerrin's 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Not only does it make the person sound like a complete moron, it's undeniably disrespectful. The real problem is that instead of everyone around them immediately returning a look of death, it mostly goes unnoticed except by the one or two who actually understand the meaning of this day of days.
Memorial day is a time to be thankful of our fallen Soldiers, Marines, Seamen, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen who have given their lives for our country whether we agree with why they died or not. Sure, you can be happy that your friends and family are near and good times are being had, but please do not forget the reason for this most somber of memorials.
I don't have a problem with barbecues, family gatherings, baseball games, motorcycle rides (many of which are organized by veterans), but I hope that during today's holiday festivities, everyone takes some time to look around and realize that where they are and who they are with would not have been possible if the Veterans we memorialize hadn't given their lives to protect these precious and blood-earned possibilities.
It is said that a person dies twice. The first time, physically and the second, when their name is spoken aloud for the last time. If you know of a Soldier, Marine, Airmen, Seamen, or Coast Guardsman who has passed away either in the line of duty or after their service, remember and think of them often.
As this Memorial Day wains into twilight, I hope you have, at the very least, stood and watched an American flag whip through the wind, felt the Star Spangled Banner in your chest, or pledged allegiance to the very flag which these Veterans died to honor and protect. Veteran's are why we, as ungrateful and forgetting as we often are, are still here. We are forever and undeniably indebted to them.
Both of my grandfathers served. Miller H. Roberts, USN and Robert L. Kipps, USMC. Neither are with us now. I'd also like to mention Patrick "Pat" Tillman, US Army, killed by friendly fire, April 22, 2004 in Afghanistan. I ask that you share, if you will please, the name of one or two veteran's who you care about and would like to remember. Please remember them. The few who have given, without hesitation, what is most precious.