Every year in middle school we had to write an essay on What Memorial Day means to me. It was hard, sometimes, to write because the topic felt far removed from me. Sure, I was thankful for all the soldiers that had died defending our country and my mind always pictured soldiers long ago, fighting in the revolution and civil war. Sure, Operation Desert Storm made it a more real but I didn’t know anyone serving so it still wasn’t tangible to me. I think it is hard to have a full appreciation of Memorial unless you know someone who has died. The meaning isn’t taught anymore and we have lost an appreciation for those who serve.
I have a sad and heavy heart for those that have been killed doing their job defending our country. My heart breaks for their spouses, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. The world is a sadder, lonelier place for them now that their loved one is no longer here. My prayers are with them, not only today but one other days as well, as God brings them to mind. We need to remember and celebrate those who have given everything for our freedom. Our country would not be the place it is today without their sacrifice.
With being said, I’m tired of being told BBQ’s and sales and going to the beach are bad ways to spend Memorial Day. There is NOTHING wrong with having a party with friends or saving money on a mattress or getting a tan. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a day off from work and sleeping in. People will spend their weekend the way they want too because, thankfully, we have that freedom of choice.
Instead of criticizing people how about we education them? How about instead of bitching on social media (where often you’re preaching to choir) you inform and inspire? Write a blog post about the meaning of Memorial Day or what it means to you (even if it does make you feel like you’re in middle school again.) If you know someone who had died, write a post about them. Give us a name, a face and something about them. Knowing they loved fish tacos makes them more real for us. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Share quotes and other items that honor those who died. Teach your kids what Memorial Days means and do meaningful things to celebrate. Instead of just saying don’t say Happy Memorial Day, tell people why. There really are people out there who just don’t know and need to be taught. So take the lead and teach them!
I think it boils down to not everyone knows someone who as died while serving. There is a HUGE disconnect and getting upset and yelling at people won’t help. Instead, share and make it meaningful. Seek to fix the problem instead of making it worse.