Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I'm a little late with this post - but better late than never, right?

Anyway, here goes:

Today is Memorial Day - the day when we are supposed to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we Americans treasure so greatly.

So when did it become the day to sell cars? Or furniture? Or sheets? Or anything?

I cringe whenever I hear the words "Memorial Day Sale", because the reason behind this day seems to shrink in importance with each passing year. Today isn't about saving money on a new Toyota, or buying new washing machines or grills. It isn't about picnics or going to the shore. it's about taking a tiny bit of time out to stop and think, and to say, "thank you," to those who've died on battlefields near and far, and to honor their memories and their sacrifice.

I am the daughter of a veteran. My father served in Vietnam. Two tours, as I recall. He was one of the lucky ones - he came back. 58,000 of his fellow servicemen and women did not.

Over four thousand servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq so far.

So while there is nothing wrong with having a picnic, or going to the shore (I still think it's a slap in the face to vets all around to use this day to advertise sales) - please, take a few moments out of the day and remember the families whose picnics are a man or woman short. A son or daughter who will not be there. A father who never saw his children grow up. The mother who will not be coming home from Iraq. Think about the empty places at dining room tables all over the country - and while you're thinking, add a thank you in there. They died to protect our freedom - for a cause that may be right or wrong in the eyes of the public, but one that was their duty.

And let's not give up hope that some day, peace will actually be possible.

To all the veterans out there, and to the active servicemen and women, I say Thank you. To all of those who gave their lives in service to their country, I say, Thank you.

Happy Memorial Day.

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