As much as I love celebrations, I do also try to honor the meaning of holidays, which aren’t always completely festive. Such is the case with Memorial Day, which is meant to honor those who died in military service to our country.
After a year’s hiatus due to COVID, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter held another Memorial Day service in the historic Cary cemetery this year, and i was happy to attend once again. It always makes me cry, even though I have been fortunate enough to have never lost a family member in foreign conflict. Indeed, although my father and his brother, and my father-in-law and some of the other in-laws from that generation, served in World War II, no one from my birth family, and I don’t believe any that I know among my husband’s family, have served, let alone died, in military service since that generation.
Still, I like to attend this ceremony each year to recognize the sacrifices that other families have suffered. i imagine, although I don’t know for a fact, that many of the organizers have very different political views than I do. However, I wish we had more occasions when we can come together to recognize our commitment to our shared country, our shared history, and our shared values than we seem to have lately.
There was an interesting editorial in today’s New York Times that pointed out that the past year and a half presented an opportunity for our country to really pull together, as people of what we now call “The Greatest Generation” did around World War II. Unfortunately, we didn’t rise to that call, according to the author. You can read about it at: “We Were Called to Sacrifice as a Nation. We Didn’t Answer.” by Margaret Renki (click here).
I wish everyone a happy Memorial Day. But I also wish we could all spend at least a little time honoring those who died in getting us to this place in our history, particularly by thinking of at least something we could do to help our nation heal from its current divided nature. I think just grieving loss together, whether it was from wars or race riots or police or other essential works dying from doing their jobs or minorities dying from inappropriate treatment, is at least a place to start. So I send love and light to anyone missing someone who has passed on today, regardless of the cause.