Remember Memorial Day

I was going to write something about Memorial Day and what the observance of it means.  Many people already know, some don’t, some care, some don’t.  Some see it as a day off from work, a day to sleep in and still get paid.  Others see it as a solemn day of remembrance, taking time to think of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so we as a populus can continue to enjoy our freedoms and liberties that many others around the world can’t.  But is it something worth writing about?  Have we gotten to the point where we take so much for granted that celebrating a day of remembrance such as this has been diluted down to just another holiday where you have to fire up the grill and ice down the beer?

Up until a week ago I worked with someone in my office that, on several occasions, brought up the notion that he’d like to burn the American flag in public because he has the right to.  He insisted that he should be able to burn the flag without suffering any repercussions from anyone, simply because the Bill of Rights says he has the right to express himself.  At first I thought he was trying to get a rise out of everyone who was dumb enough to listen to his words of stupidity.  But when it became obvious that he was serious, I almost stepped in with my two cents worth, but common sense prevailed.  The guy who was spewing this garbage was Jewish.  He was one of those Jewish people that puts his religion in everybody’s face and wants you to know that he’s better than everyone else.  I almost stepped in and said, “How would you feel if I came to work and burned the Israeli flag and made you stand there and watch?” 

But I kept my cool.  Why?  Because with the right to express one’s self comes responsibilities.  The person that was saying he wanted to burn the flag not only said this in front of our boss who did his service to our country in the army, he is also no longer in our employ.  That seemed like simple justice to me.

Most Americans with a brain understand that with our fabulous set of rights and liberties comes responsibility.  Americans must accept these responsibilities to be good citizens.  Having a majority of a population of citizens who accept these responsibilities along with their freedoms makes for a great country.

Our country.

It seems like celebrating Memorial Day without a current war or military conflict is rare these days.  Many people seem to immediately think about those who gave their lives in WWI, WWII or Vietnam.  I prefer to think of any conflict that helped shape our nation.  The Civil War is just as important as the Korean War.  The War of 1812 shaped our culture just as much as our people waging battle in Afghanistan right now.  Even the Iran-Contra affair and the struggles that were included helped in some way to keep us a free people. 

War is war and they will probably never end, but each war is a microcosm of societies wanting to be free and move forward in the world.  Whether you agree that we should have gone to Iraq or not, in the end the oppressed Iraqi people will gain some form of freedom and we will be defending and maintaining ours.  Everybody wins except the idiots that don’t want the people of the world to have choices.  If you feel our involvement in the Middle East is wrong, think of what it would be like to not have the choices you have now.  If you’re a woman, think of what it would like to have no ambition, no desire to better your life and no way of expressing yourself.  Even Communism, in its pure form, is better than the Taliban way or the lifestyle dictated by Muslin extremists in the Middle East.

I think when we’re firing up our grills and icing down the beers this Memorial Day most of us carry with us a place in our skulls reserved for thoughts of the sacrifices made on our behalf, a certain pride in knowing that, and a subtle “thank you” to those who made the sacrifices.  For many of us, we think these things for one day out of the year.  Unfortunately for many these thoughts are carried within every day.  Maybe we need to remember the brave men and women who got us what we have and those who work tirelessly each day to make sure we keep it more than just one day out of the year.

We AMERICANS, this COUNTRY owes it to them and to ourselves.

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