Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

     It's Memorial Day, Company, the traditional start of summer. And it couldn't come soon enough. I am sorry if you have to work on this long weekend, but those of us who don't greatly appreciate your making the world go 'round. As for those of you who are fortunate enough to be off on the last Monday in May, I hope you are not having to work around the house, like staining your log cabin or finally getting started on the "honey do" list which includes "remove ice from rain gutters" which Mother Nature has graciously done for you already. That was a smart move on your part to go ahead and wait on that one. "Check belts and fluids on snow blower for upcoming winter" though is probably not going to do you any good at this point. Better to leave that one for next fall and maybe replace snow blower with lawn mower and then you can get something worthwhile accomplished.
     For those of you who have nothing to do but recreate, however, I have an important reminder. While you are in the backyard, sticking out your beer gut, wearing a tank top and jean shorts and an apron that says "captain party" with a Blatz in one hand and a flipper in the other waiting for your steaks to be burnt to a crisp it is important that you think about the real reason that you have the day off. The real reason why you are able to be as ridiculous as you are. The reason for Memorial Day is to comemerate the sacrifice of the millions of people who laid down their lives in Hispanola, Europe, South Carolina, the Pacific, North Africa, Bosnia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even those three guys that fell down and scraped their knees in Grenada. And not even that. Let's go beyond that. There are millions more who are serving in the Armed Forces and who have served in the Armed Forced who weren't wounded, who thankfully never had to go into battle, who maybe manned a computer terminal deep within a mountain stronghold but who were still as important to the security, safety, and success of this nation. They deserve to be comemerated as well. And that is what Memorial Day is all about.
     Oh yeah, did you forget? Everybody thinks that Memorial Day is all about mattress sales and water skiing. But it's not. Not at all. What these men and women did in service of their country and their countrymen was of such a high importance and honor that we take a whole day of our time to pause and reflect on their actions, and to celebrate the freedoms that we have been afforded by those actions. The idea behind having a day off from living a very real and horrific version of the movie Office Space is that the the single best way to celebrate those freedoms and succeses is to revel in them. You want to celebrate the fact that you can pick up at a moments notice and go camping? Go camping. You want the celebrate that you are fortunate enough to own a boat? Cruise around the lake. You want to celebrate that you can enter a hot dog eating contest to win tickets to see Foghat at the county fair? Start eating. That is the point. If you don't take that time to do something and reflect on WHY you still have that right, then you aren't being true to the idea of Memorial Day. And you aren't doing the great deeds and sacrifices of all those brave men and women justice. And that would be the greatest travesty of them all.

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