Memorial Day 2013

May 27, 2013


Here’s part of a short essay by Alex Horton at a Veterans’ Affairs site.

When Memorial Day Bleeds Across the Calendar

[…] Even as a young kid, I reflected on my distant relative killed at Gettysburg, and the men my grandfather and uncle knew in Korea and Vietnam who came home in flag-draped transfer cases. But a turn down a trash-strewn road fundamentally changed the concept of love and loss for many in the platoon. We were young soldiers and unaccustomed to death. It was no longer something only our grandparents had to worry about. Suddenly we were eulogizing our brother who never had a chance to grow old and live a full life.

Memorial Day is meant to remind folks of the sacrifice borne by those who fell in battle in defense of the country, as well as their families. But once you lose someone in combat, Memorial Day bleeds across the rest of the calendar. […]

I hope civilians find more solace in Memorial Day than I do. Many seem to forget why it exists in the first place, and spend the time looking for good sales or drinking beers on the back porch. It’s a long weekend, not a period of personal reflection. At the same time, many incorrectly thank Vets or active duty folks for their service. While appreciated, it’s misdirected. That’s what Veterans Day is for. Instead, they should take some time and remember the spirit of the country and the dedication of those men and women who chose to pick up arms. They never came home to be thanked, and only their memory remains.

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