It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the great metropolis of Atlanta and throughout the United States, its territories, and its bases, and we’re preparing for a rainy 24 to 48 hours because of a storm (Subtropical Alberto) churning its way towards the Gulf Coast. I’m sure its bound to ruin a few barbecues and all.
Not that I don’t like barbecue, because I love something good fresh off the grill. In fact, I hope I get lucky and somebody brings me some. Wishful thinking, right?
But as a veteran (proud Army veteran), I know that Memorial Day is more than a weekend of sales, barbecues, and parties more geared towards people having a good time than actually remembering what the day is all about in the first place. At this point, I probably sound like a broken record, because I usually post something like this on my blog or on Facebook somewhere every year. But it’s a message worth repeating, and as long as I’m a living veteran who know people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country, I will continue to repeat my Memorial Day message.
First of all, I have to remind people not to wish me a Happy Memorial Day. Any veteran would give you an entire lesson or read of you try it. There’s nothing happy about Memorial Day, and it’s not a day for the living veterans. It’s for our fallen comrades, no matter what branch of service. Veterans Day is the day for the living veterans, and not just for the living, but for ALL who served; living or dead. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. To put it in a very simple perspective, if it was the anniversary of the death of your favorite relative, your child, or best friend, you wouldn’t wish them a happy day of remembrance.
I’ll be the first to tell you that our political climate is fucked up. Our system is fucked up. White people calling the cops on black people for doing everyday activities. Black people getting violently thrown in jail or killed by cops. School shootings. Killings in our neighborhoods. Inept politicians who are more concerned with who is kneeling on the football field than actually governing our country. Racism showing its head in ways that it hasn’t been popping its ugly ass up in a long time. I could go on and on. But that doesn’t take away from the sacrifice that these brave men and women have made throughout the generations to keep this country free from foreign domination, protecting it from the dark forces out there that are counting on this country to fall in the dust…just protecting their home.
When they took their last breaths on the battlefield far away from their homes, I’m almost certain they didn’t care about what race or nationality they were or what problems are going on at home. I like to think that in those last moments they thought about their families and that they did all they could do to protect them. Obviously, I can’t speak for the dead, but I like to think of things in that way, because it’s one of the few ways I can deal with, understand, and appreciate why I’m so privileged to be here writing this blog, writing stories, and talking to you about my Army days instead of being one of the fallen. Before anyone tries to say that I should feel lucky and blessed, save it. Every day I feel blessed to be alive, but I don’t feel lucky. Not when I know that some of my friends and best mentors never came home. Why should I feel lucky? I shouldn’t. What I do feel is a depth of gratitude.
That’s why Memorial Day is so significant to me. Even if I do partake in some barbecue and maybe a drink or two, I will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice so I can do all of that; so we all can do all of that. I will never forget the ones who died for a country that’s deeply flawed, but still is the greatest country on the face of this Earth. It’s the only home that I know, and it will always be my home. I thank my comrades for giving it all so I can still have a home. You all should feel the same appreciation.
So to the fallen of the recent wars: We miss you dearly. Your families miss you. But we know that you’re in a better place. You served with honor. Thank you and we’ll never forget you.
To all of the fallen: You gave your all. We honor you. We’re thankful for you. We will remember your lives and sacrifices forever.
That’s it for my Sunday Night Thoughts. I hope you can take something from this. Have a great week and if you don’t see a post from me in between time, I’ll be right here next Sunday night.
Side note: I hope that you like the new layout for the website. It was time for a change.