Memorial Day: Remembering The Point

A quick trip around the web in a free country is an eye-opening experience. The flood of information; the deluge of differing opinions, beliefs, and truths quickly illustrates the notions of both diversity and transparency. The Rational Middle believes it is an obligation of free citizens to question the nation’s participation in conflict, but we in The RM also acknowledge our ability to participate in this discourse is directly related to those Americans who have died in all of our national conflicts. They make both the quick trip, and the diversity of information possible.

During my latest trip, the most common references I have read on Memorial Day have been contradictory. The RM has touched on the day before (here and here), but the differing opinions by service personnel and the extended families of those lost is (to my eyes) a change. For many, the notions of celebrating Memorial Day, of wishing someone Happy Memorial Day, are painful and offensive. For others, the acknowledgement and celebration are fitting and long-awaited. So how do we reconcile these two competing ideals; how do we embrace the holiday without hurting those we celebrate?

We start the way we always must in The Rational Middle; we start by knowing the facts. Memorial Day is not an acknowledgement of veterans in general, although sadly there are no veterans I know of nowadays who don’t have a fallen brother or sister on their mind this day. Memorial Day is the time to contemplate, to recognize, to pay respect to those who have died in service to our nation. Memorial Day is the time to acknowledge, and provide solace and support to, the families of those taken in service. Some will embrace the celebration, others would rather make a silent note; all should know the numbers.

In 74 conflicts, beginning with the Revolutionary War, 1,343,812 Americans who been killed, and 1,529,230 have been wounded. These numbers will go up. These bald numbers are our focal point, around which an extended network of damaged families and saddened friends exists. They are who we recognize, and in our own way and with dignity celebrate, on this Memorial Day.


The Rational Middle is listening…

One thought on “Memorial Day: Remembering The Point

  1. Michael, I agree with you that there are many opinions about war and remembering and how we acknowledge this today. My son was declared dead on Nov. 28, 2008 from TBI and then, suddenly and without explanation, he came back to life 5 minutes later. It is a miracle that I am deeply grateful for even though I cannot explain it. He served with the U.S. Marine Corp and gave distinguished service. He is now married, studying and working hard in his chosen career. I am so proud of him!
    Also, my late husband served in the Navy for 20 years and finally died of a massive heart attack Aug. 19, 2004. I honor his service as well even though he died 9 years after retiring.
    Memorial Day is a day of deep remembering for me. I do understand that many have turned this into a \start of summer\ holiday. I hope that even those people will acknowledge that their ability to celebrate summer comes because of others who bled and died for them. We stand on the shoulders of others. I have been studying U.S. history and especially the Civil War and I am awed and humbled by reading the personal journal accounts of those who were there and the perspectives of others who were affected by those days. JFK said that \we can’t know where we are going until we know where we have been\. I also remember that those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it! I hope that everyone will take some time to learn \where we have been\ so that they can see that the future will be more peaceful than our past.
    To all, may Memorial Day be what you desire and need it to be for you and may it carry the remembrance of those who would wish your future to be the best because they gave \the last full measure of devotion\ to see that you have your heart’s desire. In Remembrance this Memorial Day.

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