As I was pondering what to write about this morning, I hesitated. It is Memorial Day, and I found myself worrying about what is an appropriate post for this day. I wanted to say how much I enjoy lazy long weekends with my kids, playing in the rain. But then wondered if I would upset someone. And then I wondered if other bloggers were second guessing themselves.
I have watched pictures of fathers and grandfathers who fought in various services posted all over social media, as if the posters have the right to celebrate because their relative fought/served in some capacity. I am sure that is not the only sentiment intended, but I wonder what these men (and women) would think about their photographs being plastered on social media once a year. They are all smiling in their pictures. War and death are bloody suffering, grief, and despair and not these bright, shiny, cleanly scrubbed portrayals. Is that how they would want us to remember? I don’t know.
There are posts that insinuate that those barbecuing and relaxing with their family are not showing the appropriate level of respect for the sacrifice that made the day possible. And so I ask: What is the appropriate level of respect? Should I not make that blueberry, strawberry, and whipped cream pound cake trifle I was planning? Is a soldier’s life or even their leg worth my potato salad? Should I take my kids to the cemetery and put out flags? Should we attend a parade? Should I show them grisly war documentaries? Should I bow my head in solemn respect all day? I don’t know.
It IS a sacred holiday. But much like Easter that is celebrated in a myriad of different ways (and I am not really sure that God is as threatened by the Easter Bunny as my parents wanted us to believe as kids), Memorial Day can be celebrated with as much diversity. And that is the point, the point of all of that death and sacrifice.
Whatever the reason for our involvement in those wars, whether we were right or wrong, whether we won or lost…we are still here as a country. We can celebrate our diversity on every level, including how we celebrate Memorial Day. That is what makes us special, what makes us strong. Are we perfect? No. Are we better than everyone else? No. Acceptance and love. That is what we need even on Memorial Day.
Some day it may be my own son or daughter whose death I will be thinking about on this day. And so for now let me say I am grateful, so very grateful for what I have right now…a holiday to make special memories with them. Some day memories may be all that I have.