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Yesterday I attended a family party. (We now gather about four times a year for consolidated birthday parties.  This one was more like a mini Christmas since there were five birthdays in May and two in April.

As everyone was getting ready to leave, the good-bye mantras included "Happy Memorial Day"

There is nothing 'happy' about Memorial Day.

My son is career army.  My grandkids have endured his deployments to Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.  

While my son was in Korea and Iraq, I would joke among my friends that I hear more from my son when he is over seas because he does contact me via computer.  He managed to help his son with homework at least two times a week, and my daughter-in-law told me that the check book is always balanced because of her husband's diligence.

But Afghanistan was different.  

The 101st Airborne lost so many fine men this past year, one of them the father of my grandson's best friend.  This tragedy bought home the realization that Daddy is not just gone for awhile, but he is in harm's way- a fact 10 year old boys should not have to deal with.  

This Memorial Day, so many families across the land will have those wounds of loss re-opened.  Some are still coping.  Some will never recover.

This Memorial Day, I will not be seeking out the sales nor heading to the beach to 'celebrate' the beginning of summer.  Later on today I will be joining the Boy Scouts as they place flags at the National Cemetery at Calverton.  Tomorrow I am attending a ceremony by the American Legion to honor those who lost their lives in war.

Maybe there will be BBQ's.  And people will flock to the stores, the beaches and parks.

But there is nothing "Happy" about Memorial Day.  It is a day for reflection, honoring and acknowledging that not only are we at 'war', but men and women are dying in that war.

Please take time during this 'three day weekend' to remember.  Check with your local VFW for ceremonies or events in your community and participate.  

And hug a vet.

Originally posted to grannycarol on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •   Rendezvous with Destiny! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannycarol, BlueJessamine

    Have a nice Memorial Day, from another 101st vet.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sun May 29, 2011 at 06:03:37 AM PDT

  •  Veteran's Day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, 88kathy

    I always wish my veteran friends a "Happy Memorial Day." We won. We're alive.

  •  At the Arizona Memorial a stone is etched (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, VClib, marina, Vita Brevis, chimene

    with Eleanor Roosevelt's prayer.

    Dear Lord,

    Lest I continue
    My complacent way,
    Help me to remember that somewhere,
    Somehow out there
    A man died for me today.
    As long as there be war,
    I then must
    Ask and answer
    Am I worth dying for

    Living a worthy life would not necessarily mean being not happy.  You can be happy and mindful of the truth of life, peace, death, & war.

  •  Thank you grannycarol (6+ / 0-)

    Most people seem to have forgotten what Memorial Day is about. Most seem to confuse it with Veteran's Day, but it is something very different. Memorial Day is when we honor those who have fallen, not just served, in service to our country. It is a very special day for many of us. While they are frequently in my thoughts, and will always be an inspiration to me for their bravery and sacrifice, Memorial Day for me is about my many friends on The Wall. So many, so young.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun May 29, 2011 at 07:07:12 AM PDT

  •  I do find it quite odd that it's morphed into (5+ / 0-)

    hotdogs and shopping. Even I was caught off guard and wondering why so many American flags were out. Then I remembered...oh.

    We Americans have become quite thoughtless when it comes to war.

    And I don't mean rude, I mean we don't give it a thought.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Sun May 29, 2011 at 07:45:04 AM PDT

  •  my grandfather, a Tuskegee Airman, who lost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Vita Brevis

    many friends to a war generations ago, and who fought in that same war...

    was the one who went around saying "Happy Memorial Day" with a big grin on his face as he manned the grill when I was a kid.

    so I say it's both.  honestly I tire of the tendency of those on the left to pretend there's no such thing as American customs, which the holidays represent for me.

    there are American customs around Christmas.  there are American customs around Halloween.  and yes, there are American customs around Memorial Day.  why not enjoy them for what they are, while understanding exactly what the day itself does or doesnt't mean to you?

    life is too short, as this holiday proves in many ways.

    (RIP Sherwood Baker, KIA in Iraq years ago, who was a classmate of mine in grade school and high school.)

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Sun May 29, 2011 at 07:51:57 AM PDT

  •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, grannycarol

    My "Reflections on Memorial Day" diary has my thoughts on it.

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Sun May 29, 2011 at 08:12:03 AM PDT

    •  And said much better than I ever could (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA

      thank you very much.

      Veteran's Day is for the living.  And yet that day goes almost unnoticed.  Although suppose to be a national holiday, most people choose to work on Veteran's Day in order to have the day after Thanksgiving off.

      I sent my own Happy Veteran's Day cards to every vet I know thanking him or her for their service to our country.

      Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

      by grannycarol on Sun May 29, 2011 at 08:55:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  On the one hand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, grannycarol

    people can say "they died for our freedom, and freedom is worth celebrating", so they may have a point. But on the other hand, we indulge in our freedoms (theoretically) for 364 days a year, and we should take a day to reflect on the somber cost of that.

    But let's face it, no one cares. They just want a three day weekend to party because it cost them, personally, nothing. Our society supports the notion that thinking only of oneself is the same thing as thing for oneself, so unless you personally lost someone you know to war, there's no contemplation given.

    •  Johnny got his gun (2+ / 0-)
      You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else's life.  They're plenty loud and they talk all the time.  You can find them in the churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress.  That's their business.  They sound wonderful.  Death before dishonor.  This ground sanctified by blood.  These men who died so gloriously.  They shall not have died in vain.  Our noble dead.

      Hmmmm.

      But what do the dead say?

      Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any of them ever come back and say by god I'm glad I'm dead because death is better than dishonor?  Did they say I'm glad I died to make the world safe for democracy?  Did they say I like death better than losing liberty?  Did any of them ever say it's good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country?  Did any of them ever say look at me I'm dead but I died for decency and that's better than being alive?

      -Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun

      "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

      by BOHICA on Sun May 29, 2011 at 09:40:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I see Memorial day as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannycarol

    similar to honoring firefighters or police officers killed in the line of duty. It's a dangerous job.

  •  Republished at the MCM (0+ / 0-)

    That would be the Military Community Members of DailyKos.

    Would you be interested in writing more? We're always looking for diarists with connections to the military.

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