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by Jason Schaftlein
I was searching the internet trying to find some pictures that represent Memorial Day. I found some great pictures of all different types of war memorials, but I also found graphics that said “Happy Memorial Day!”, super-imposed over bursting fireworks, and American flags. It seems like the perception of the day is that it is just another day off of work, and many recognize it as the start of Summer. It seems as if the day is perceived as a celebration. I think that it should be a day of reflection, sorrow, and appreciation.
Memorial Day is actually May 30th, but it is observed as the last Monday in May. As I look at my desk calender, May 30th is blank. It just says “Memorial Day Observed” under May 25th. The VFW said in 2002 “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.” I somewhat agree with their view. Many people see it as just a day off, butI think that the long weekend is great for people like Len Dunman, that stated in the previous post that he rides to D.C. nearly every year to see the wall. I think that the day itself, is somewhat irrelevant though. Observance is what we need to focus on. It doesn’t matter whether it is May 30th, the last Monday in May, or any day for that matter. Take some time to recognize all of what others have done for this country.
When I was 12 years old, I took a field trip to Washington D.C. At the time, I had a very poor understanding of what Memorial Day, actually stood for. A day off school was all I appreciated. My father was about 19 when his friends began to be drafted. He told me that he too would have been drafted, if it wasn’t for loosing sight in his left eye just a few years prior. As I stood face to face with the thousands of names on the wall, I was amazed at the size of it. I wondered what would have happened if my father had went to that war. Would I have been here to see the names of all of the people that never had a chance to return to their families? The next day, we visited Arlington National Cemetery. What a sight that was. The graves of all of those soldiers stretched much further that I could see. The cemetery is a truly beautiful tribute to all of those who served for us. Seeing it changed my entire outlook on what I thought was just another holiday.
I really want to say “Thank you” to all of you that are reading this, and have served our country. And I want to tell all of you that has lost family, or a friend that served our country, that my family is incredibly grateful for the sacrifice. Without their service, we would not have such a free, and peacefull place to live, and raise our families. I would like for any of you that has lost a family member, or friend to war, please feel free to leave their name in our comments section of this post. Have a great weekend everybody.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -John F. Kennedy