It’s Memorial Day!
To all of you who died while active in the United States Armed Services, thank you for your service!
(I am assuming a very long distance following)
Today is for dead soldiers.
And not these kind.
While a good portion of the country will be focusing on other things instead of dead soldiers, things like sleeping in, having a day off, charring pieces of meat on a barbecue, chasing after the neighbor’s wife or husband, and the like, I am hoping that a few more people will stop to reflect what happened to cause the country to shut down and give us another holiday.
Today is to pause and remember those who died in the service of our country, to keep your sorry ass and mine safe from threats and incursions of various enemies of the state. And have a day off of work.
I pause today to think about the Unknown Soldiers. They are like the extras or background actors on a film. Except they had to willingly walk into deadly harms way wearing a scratchy uniform, rather than in front of a screaming 2nd Assistant Director with an ear splitting megaphone while wearing uncomfortable period costumes. Though I do think the pay is about the same.
Can you imagine growing up, going through your school years, being asked “So, little Jimmy/Janey, what do you want to be when you grow up?” And a sweet, tiny voice says with an adorable lisp “I’m gonna graduate high school then go into the military and get killed and forgotten.”
Hopefully with modern technology and DNA testing, there will be no more dead unknown soldiers. I hope every serviceman and servicewoman’s file contains a DNA sample for such purposes. That’s a terrible thing for a family, except for those with relatives they wish were unknown. Like Fenwick’s brother. Though the likes of those would never join an armed fracas.
I’m sure there are many families who wish their deceased military kin had never joined up. As well as those who have great pride in the grit and courage of their loved one, passed to glory at the hands of an enemy. And combinations in between. Today I will sit with those families (not literally, hons. I don’t have that kind of money for airfare), and think about those boys and girls who voluntarily took a bullet for me, sight unseen.
Who would you take a bullet for? Would you take one for someone you’ve never met? Would you take one for a notorious criminal, or a spoiled celebrity? I wouldn’t.
For me, that’s the point. It’d be so lovely to live in a world where we all got along and helped and supported each other, respecting each other’s beliefs and customs while passing the humus and tandoori. But we don’t. We are still essentially small minded and ignorant beasts who insist on peeing in the corners using weapons instead of urine to claim land and treasures that don’t belong to us, for whatever reason.
Today I’m going to remember the folks who died, not for claiming land, oil rights or making political stands, but for protecting our way of life here and the likes of Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, the Lohans, as well as the unknown heroes of Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity and the rest of us in between.
Pass the mustard.