While I am traditionally not a big “Red, White and Blue-er,” I acknowledge Memorial Day for the significance it holds and appreciate its meaning and intent – to honor the brave men and women of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. And while the true, original significance of the day may get lost amid the jumble of Memorial Day sales, public pool opening parties, BBQ’s and picnics, I always make an effort to remember the men and women – sometimes little more than boys and girls – that have died so we may all enjoy everything America has to offer.
Even though the message is stirring, cute graphics like the one above negate the horrors of war, the loss of life and futures, and instead reduce it to a colorful, catchy turn of phrase, something that will sell well on an Old Navy tee or Hallmark coffee mug. I myself am not a veteran; I was spared that noble yet horrible turn in life. My Dad served in the Korean conflict; he seldom speaks of the war itself but shares stories of friends he made and lost while serving. I know that being a soldier changed my Dad. Of course, I did not know him then but I sense that he was different before the war – maybe lighter, more happy. I cannot even imagine what war “feels like,” and while my father rarely speaks of his time served, he has shared with me that the only movie that has ever come close to the horror of the experience is the opening sequence of “Saving Private Ryan.” Yes, war changes a person.
So today, on Memorial Day, I hope we all can pause and remember those brave soldiers and, in their memory, commit to avoiding future wars at all costs. Has mankind not evolved beyond rocks and sticks – or nuclear warheads and WMD’S – to a place where we can talk thru any differences and resolve conflict thru civil discourse? I hope so. That is my prayer today.