Monday, May 31, 2010

Event Review - Memorial Day

I don't try to hide the fact that I'm not all that fond of the people who tend to get elected to lead our country. Our presidents seem to be less and less interested in disguising their corruption, and the wars in which we continue to find ourselves entangled seem less and less just. You can spout on about our global war on terror, but from where I'm sitting, Iraq had jack squat to do with terrorism and everything to do with oil and a vainglorious quest for a legacy.

But no matter how much I find myself disillusioned with the nation's so-called leaders, I find myself filled with pride and gratitude for the men and women who are willing to fight, die and kill to protect us. I may disagree with the Boss Hogg assholes who send them off to die, but I am a devout supporter of our military. I'm downright passionate about it.

And that's why, when school districts decide to make up snow days by having school on Memorial Day, I get pissed. That's disrespectful, if you ask me. You don't have to grow victory gardens. You're not on gasoline rations. We don't even have a draft. We are currently fighting two wars at the same time, and the American people have had to sacrifice absolutely nothing (you know, aside from the ones who died). American schoolkids are taught an ever-dwindling amount of American history, to the point that we leave out entire wars (yes, this is happening - I have two kids in public school, and I can tell you that their education is woefully lacking). And to further separate us from the fighting forces who sacrifice to keep us safe in our beds, local school districts have decided not to acknowledge Memorial Day.

This day should be sacred. Twice a year, we have three-day weekends and barbecues and pretend to remember why our hot dog wrappers are in English. Without our troops, your beer labels might be in French, or German, or Spanish, or maybe even Russian. Twice a year, we get the day away from our obligations, and we should be using that time to at least acknowledge the incredible sacrifices that have been made to keep us safe.

I'm not asking everyone to spend the day in somber meditation. That would be hypocritical to an extreme, since I had a bunch of friends over to play games all day. We grilled hamburgers and drank cold beer. We played Queen's Gambit, Summoner Wars, Dominion and Warhammer Quest. We watched a movie. In other words, we celebrated and had a good time. And we celebrated in honor of the people who are on the front lines, who starve and freeze and sweat, and shoot and stand watch and sometimes die, so that we don't have to go without.

What I am asking is that you remember why this day is important. I did have a good time today, and I don't feel the least bit guilty about that. Hell, that's kind of the point. We celebrate because we're grateful to be free. We celebrate so that we don't forget. We celebrate to remember that the reason we're able to celebrate is because so many others put it all on the line for us.

So if your kid is asked to attend school on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, politely inform the school that as you are a patriotic American, you will not be able to bring your kids to school that day. Because this is not just some random three-day weekend. This is the day we remember that there are brave men and women who gave everything they had to give to make sure that we have the option to get drunk and eat too many baked beans.

So raise your glasses and remember all the men and women who have fought for us. One quick toast, and you can go back to your inebriation and overeating. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day, even those of you who may not be citizens of the United States. I know I did, and I am eternally grateful for that fact.


Enrique said...

Here , here! I celebrated changing a bunch of diapers. Not ideal, not as good as a bunch of games, but an extra day with the family is an extra day with the family. But I did sleep a bit more than usual. My district did indeed have a Holiday.

Andrew Foland said...

[I]f his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.

But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it.