What does freedom mean to you? Does it mean the ability to do what you want? Does it mean the right to shop, eat, play, say what you want? What if someone took that away from you? How would you feel? Would you fight for freedom? Would you lay down your life to be free?
What is a hero? Is it someone who risks their life for others? Is it someone who does what others cannot, or will not? Maybe it is someone who gave their live so you and I can be free. Yeah, I think that might be it.
On Monday, Memorial Day, services were held throughout the U.S. I was at my local one. I went not only because I had to for work, but because I had to so I could show my respect for those who died so I could be free. Where were you? Were you there? Did you show your respect?
Or did you celebrate Memorial Day by hitting the local sale, firing off the grill, and tossing back a cold one? Did you take the time to reflect on why the hell we celebrate this day? Or did the concept of it pass you by like a fleeting ship in the night?
It makes me very angry to go to Memorial Day services and not see everyone there. No, I don’t mean the vets. Lord knows they have their own way to say thank you to their brothers and sisters in arms. But you and I who did not put on a uniform and did not go out and risk our lives so others could be free—we are the ones who should be there.
I get that there are those who celebrate quietly with their loved ones. I appreciate that. I welcome that. At least you are acknowledging it. But too often, as with many holidays, we forget why we celebrate Memorial Day in the first place.
Instead of going to a Memorial Day service for an hour, there are those of us who head to the local store. Why? To buy something? Is it really that special that you must have it right away? So special that you say to hell with the real reason for this holiday, I am going shopping? Have we as a people become that self-indulgent?
For those of you who do not know, or are too lost in your own worlds to care, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last day of the month of May. It was originally celebrated to remember the end of the Civil War. At the time it was known as Declaration Day. In the early part of the 20th century it became what it is supposed to be today.
So next year when it is time for the Memorial Day service take a look at yourself. Take stock of what you see. Ask yourself, should I go shopping or should I go pay my respects? I hope you make the right decision. Do not let Memorial Day become just another three-day weekend.
Take pride in your country. Take pride in your freedom. And make damn sure you show those who died for it your appreciation.