Memorial Day Considerations

I thought I’d offer a re-post from Memorial Day 2011. This post was first published within my first month of blogging, so I’m quite sure only my family read it. Memorial Day in the United States is in May, but  the context of remembering those who have lost their lives in service to their country is for all of us, no matter what country we call home.

I recently heard a radio discussion championing the restoration of Memorial Day to its original date, May 30th, rather than the last Monday of the month and the convenience of three-day weekends.  The dialogue caught my attention because I admit I do enjoy the advantage of lengthy Memorial holidays and for many years this particular weekend has been a travel opportunity for priceless family reunions.

I carefully listened to the argument because the person speaking had the only credentials in this discussion that merited attention. As a veteran, his concern was that the original intention of the holiday had shifted to some kind of season opener to summer activity. Although I gratefully acknowledge the sacrifice of men and women who have lost their lives defending our nation, I certainly know that I do not carry the same level of awareness as those who have experienced active military duty. And that goes for their families, too. I recently learned that a good friend of mine is awake long into the night, unable to restore restful sleep patterns now that her son is home from Iraq.  During his lengthy deployment she couldn’t sleep knowing he was in continual danger.  He returned without injury, but the pattern of fear  left anxieties that continue to interrupt her sleep. I wonder if that is a forever change.

I am going to think a little more about the veteran’s request that we petition elected officials to return the Memorial Day observance to its original date, but while I wait for that potential change, I can be a little more mindful, and a lot more grateful. Although there have been members of my family who have served in military conflict, they have returned home. I want to honor those who did not.

CNN featured the story of a young man, I believe still in high school, who started Project Preserveand Honor, “A virtual place for loved ones and friends to both locate the graves of the fallen, and reflect on the memory of their sacrifice.”   I’ve been reading the biographies of some of the young men and women who recently lost their lives in service, and offering up a prayer for those they left behind.

I really should be more continually aware of the sacrifices others have made in contribution of national defense, but it is often easy for life to crowd out that sensitivity.   Certainly members of our  Armed Forces deserve specific attention and honor one specific day a year. Memorial Day does give us motivation to hang our American Flag and contemplate the sacrifice of a relative few for the rest of us.