This past Monday was Memorial Day, a holiday which is meant to recognize those in the armed forces who have served nobly and given their lives to defend our country and our freedom. For 9-5 America, it largely means a long weekend with great weather – perfect for the beach and grilling with friends and family. And while it may be upsetting, especially to those with strong ties to the military or who have lost a loved one, we also need to think about why that’s the way it is. There were blogs, articles, and videos galore surfacing last weekend bashing on how the American people are largely uninformed as to what the holiday is all about – something which I can certainly understand. In fact, one interview of beach-goers found someone who thought the Civil War saw France as the winner. As appalling as that may be, it says more about us as an overall population than anything else. Clearly, we are not taking this seriously.
Before you get defensive and think “I AM taking this seriously. I know exactly what the holiday is about. Don’t group me with those other people who take their freedom for granted” – just listen. When it comes to issues like this, we as a country separate ourselves from one another like boys and girls at a sixth grade dance. We have those who understand the holiday on one side, and those who are cluelessly happy about a long weekend on the other. We say things and get upset, but we really don’t do much of anything to bring everyone together. Now, do I think that being uneducated about Memorial Day should be a real issue? No – of course not. But it is, and we need to take it upon ourselves to fix it.
That all being said, I think we need to find a happy medium. We don’t need to go to the other extreme and force everyone to be sad, solemn and reflective all day. After all, I think it’s safe to say that most of those who have given their lives for our freedom would want to see people enjoying it. However, running around the beach drunk with a burger thinking that the Civil War involved other countries isn’t OK either. Those of us who know the importance of Memorial Day need to band together and be the change we wish to see in the world. We need to find a way to bring people together to reflect on the brave men and women of our armed forces, past and present, and understand why it is that they don’t have to go to work that day.
How we do it is still to be determined, but sitting around and complaining that people are ignorant and don’t care isn’t going to solve anything. This has been an issue for long enough and it’s time to fix it by making it a cause instead of an argument. Any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!