The Meaning of Memorial Day


Memorial Day began as Declaration Day, a day for our nation to recognize and decorate (with flowers) the graves of those who died during wartime.  The tradition of decorating the graves of dead soldiers has grown to decorating the graves of all of our loved ones who have died regardless of whether they served in the military during wartime or not.  Which makes sense to me because for everyone man or woman who fought in combat and died,  they had a family and friends who were back home fighting behind the scenes… fighting to keep the home fires burning… fighting to keep back the tears of fear and sorrow…

Both of my grandfathers fought in WWI and my Dad was a Captain in the Army during WWII when France was liberated from Germany.  I have a letter that was written by an “old French School Marm”, thanking the America Soldiers for saving them… for liberating them.  My Dad said they were marching through the streets of Paris when this woman ran out to the street and shoved this letter into his hand… can you possibly imagine how emotional that moment must have been?

Liberation per Merriam-Webster means “a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group”.  Seeking equal rights and status… I have to wonder why so many of us get so whipped up about not wanting others to have the same rights and status as we do?  Is it greed?  Is it pompousness?

Or why do some groups get so whipped up thinking that they deserve something more?  I see groups who think they deserve different work place accommodations  than their peers (e.g. The employees at Target who do not have to touch pork products while working the check out line or those folks who are granted multiple breaks in a special room for prayer for religious reasons).  What is driving the need to feel one deserves more than what is provided for the other workers?  Is it religious fervor?  Is it truly injustice that is driving some of this self-deserving behavior or is it something else?

I do not have the answer, nor am I a politically charged woman who falls far to the left or to the right.  I believe simply that all people should be treated with respect and allowed equal benefits and rights as long as you work for them and contribute positively to society.

I also believe that when living in your adoptive land,  you need to respect and embrace the culture of that land.   In the United States,  I do believe that English should be the spoken language… if you want to use your birth language in your home that is awesome but when talking to me in a store, at a restaurant or in a business setting,  I want to converse in English.  My great-grandmother came over from Germany not knowing a syllable of English.  She was an un-educated young woman who came across on a large boat,  all by herself as a teenager to come tend to her brother’s children.  She had no choice but to learn the language of the land… and she did.

For those of you who are gay and in committed relationships,  I agree that you should be able to have the same benefits as married folks.  The same holds true for heterosexuals who co-habitate and choose to not formally marry… same benefits… fine with me… it only seems fair and isn’t that what liberation is all about?

So let’s go back to Memorial Day… a day to remember those who have fought and died for the basic rights of Life and Liberty.  It didn’t matter what color your skin tone was, it didn’t matter if you were low, middle or high income,  it didn’t matter if you were straight, gay or bi-sexual,  it didn’t matter if you were Protestant, Catholic, Muslim or Hindu.   My Dad was not French but he was right there marching through the streets with pride and joy when France was liberated from Hitler’s Germany… the blood that ran through their veins did not matter,  the soil on which they stood did not matter for on that one day they all were one family fighting liberation for all.

So as you celebrate this Memorial Day,  remember why this day was put into place.  Remember those who have given their lives (physically or mentally) to fight for our freedom to be able to love and respect one another unconditionally…

God Bless America, Land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her thru the night with a light from above.  From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God Bless America, my home sweet home.  God bless America, my home, sweet home.

Thank you to my nephew Jason, my nephew Caleb, my son Trevor and all of those who have, are or will serve either home or abroad.

Your comments on my post are more than welcome!

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