Monday, May 27, 2013

Please don't thank a soldier today.

Since today is Memorial Day, I want to take a small break from my usual format, to make sure we understand what this holiday is really about.

People often get confused between Veterans' Day and Memorial Day.  These are not the same holiday.

On Verterans' Day, we should take the time to stop and thank people we know in the Armed Forces, particularly veterans who have come home.  Regardless of your political affiliations, The Armed Forces of the United States serve to protect this country.  Sometimes their leaders may use them for actions that you or I think are not in the best interest of this country, but that's a debate for another time and place.  The simple fact is that they are there to keep us safe, and protect our way of life from other nations that would see it end.  When Veterans' day rolls around, thank a soldier.  Thank a veteran.  Shake someone's hand.

Today, however, is Memorial Day.  Today is not for veterans.  Today is for the men and women who didn't make it home, and never got to experience a Veterans' Day as a veteran.  Every day, all around the world, there are men and women in the United States Armed Forces who risk their very lives to defend their country, and on Memorial Day, we step back from our jobs, our daily grind that they protect, and we give our heartfelt thanks to the ones who's hands we can never shake.  Our thanks to the men and women who died in the service of the country they loved.

So today, enjoy your life of freedom.  Have a barbecue, go to the beach, and enjoy this beautiful country that we call home.  While you're at it, just remember that the reason we celebrate this day, is in the memory of our fallen soldiers.  If you're a person of any faith, say a prayer for their souls.  Pay a rosary on their behalf.  Today is also a day to visit the resting places of those we can, and to tell their stories to those who will listen. Tell the story of your great uncle's plane crash in the Air Force, of the day your brother left for boot camp.

Don't thank a soldier today.  Say a prayer, tell a story, and do something to enjoy the freedom their brothers in arms died to protect.