I’ve seen a lot of finger-shaking posts reminding us that Memorial Day isn’t about happy family picnics and barbeques, beaches and kites and lemonade. Today we should be bowing our heads and weeping at the loss of our fallen soldiers. While I do think it’s so very important to never lose sight of the men and women who fight for our freedom, I also think that’s something that should be done on a daily basis, not just on an easily prepackaged holiday. If you really care about the sacrifices of our armed forces, how about putting your money and your time where your mouth is? Try donating to Veteran’s Associations, try voting for better funding for VA hospitals and services. Try fostering an atmosphere of understanding instead of disdain around our soldiers who come home physically and mentally damaged, often beyond any real repair. Try to imagine the horror of being trained to kill, trained to be ever vigilant and hyper-aware, trained to an almost machine-like grace of obedience— and then to be returned to normal, mundane life where you’re supposed to put those emotions behind you and somehow not be haunted.
I went off on a tangent, but my original point ties right in. My grandfather, my uncle and great-uncles, my ex-boyfriend and still dear friend have all gone to war, offered their lives as supplication to keep others free. While you might argue about the rightness or wrongness of certain battles or of war itself as a remedy for anything, it’s hard to argue with the individual sacrifices of human beings. And I’m positive that all of the men I’ve known who’ve fought for your freedom wouldn’t want you spending the day weeping. They fought so you wouldn’t have to think about the dark things lurking in this world. They fought so you could breathe easily, build sandcastles, run barefoot through the grass, gather your family close, bask in the water and the sunshine and the gloriously sparkling free air.