Happy Memorial Day?
A quick perusal of Facebook tells me people are wondering if it is ok to say Happy Memorial Day.
For the first time, I am not so sure anymore.
But for the biggest part of my life it was never a question.
Memorial Day and Veterans Day have always been big deals for me. And mostly synonymous. I love them because I am highly patriotic. Probably too much so for my own good, but nevertheless, I still am.
Military service, in my way of thinking, is something to be proud of. While I stop short of calling for a military draft, I believe everybody ought to have to give something back in service to the country. How that would work in my mind is fairly simple but needs to be a different topic on another day–and mostly not for this format–unless I am begged very hard–and bribed too.
Ed Conner, my grandfather-in-law, who has now gone to be with the Lord, fought in hand-to-hand combat through the islands of the Pacific in WWII.
Bob Brown, my father-in-law, served in the Army as an Officer and Combat Engineer during a tour of duty in Vietnam.
My father, Les Ferguson, Sr. served as a radar operator on the East Coast on Nike Missile installations during a hitch in the US Army.
And me? I am proud of my service as a weapons control computer operator/ technician on the USS Josephus Daniels CG-27 in the US Navy.
I have never regretted my six year enlistment in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club. I saw lots of different things, experienced some really cool places, people, etc. I am, however, not all that eager to go back to the Middle East again–six months of Operation Desert Shield was enough combat pay/ adrenaline to last a lifetime.
I am thankful for all those who have served before, with, and after me. So many Americans have no idea the sacrifices military and their families endure.
If you want a better way to support those who currently serve, I’d suggest the Wounded Warrior Project.
At any rate, back to the idea of saying Happy Memorial Day…
For what it is worth, Memorial Day has taken on some additional meaning for me. At this stage of my life, grief is an ever present, bittersweet sort of friend. On one hand, I wish he would disappear for ever; on the other hand, I am glad for the constant reminder of what has been lost. I don’t want to forget…
Memorial Day is about remembering so that those we have lost will not be forgotten.
Today, I celebrate Memorial Day a little differently than I have before. I remember those who have fallen, yes, but, I also grieve with and for those who are left to carry the memories of loved ones lost.
My suggestion? Enjoy the time with your family. Barbecue on the grill. Go fishing with the kids. Canoe a river. Celebrate the wonderful life and blessing of being an American.
And as you do, don’t forget the inherent sadness of the day. Don’t forget to grieve with those who know Memorial Day to really be a mourning day. Explain it to your kids. Remind them of the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives–and the sacrifices those left behind still have to make.
Happy Memorial Day? I don’t think so…
God bless all who sit down tonight without the one they love. May they find some sweet memory that brings just a little bit of a smile. They deserve that and more!