Monday, May 29, 2017

The New (Old) Way We Should Do Memorial Day

I am just going to come out and say that I do not like how we "celebrate" Memorial Day. At all.

I know, Memorial Day is supposed to be the happy holiday that actually signals the beginning of the summer holidays. It's the first weekend we can really justify beach trips, summer fridays, and the like. I get it. Summer is awesome.

But Memorial Day was never about celebrating the beginning of summer. The holiday is supposed to be for remembering those in the military who died in the line of duty. It's supposed to be a solemn day where we reflect on those lives cut short in the line of duty.

What I don't get is how a holiday that was supposed to be dedicated to the memory of the sacrifice of fallen soldiers became a time to shop your brains out. Everywhere I look, there is another ad from a different company beckoning us to shop offering us some obscene discount or free items for us to shop on a day historically created to honor our fallen.

This shows us two things:

1) We can make (and have made) any holiday about shopping if we want to. Even one as solemn as this. I mean as far as holidays go, it doesn't get much more serious than this. And yet, even now, many of us are taking our hard earned cash, or worse, credit to go shopping on a day that is supposed to honor our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers who died in the military. Like, what is wrong with us?

And...

2) The blatant disrespect we have for those in the military. Now as a pacifist, down to my core, I abhor violence and war. To be honest, I don't like that any nation even has to have a military, but such is the way of the world. But what I will do is honor those brave women and men who put their lives, time with their families, their hopes and dreams on hold in order to keep the borders of this country safe. And for those who have died fighting for this nation I call home, I certainly do honor.

But not by buying another thing I don't need. I think a better way to honor those who have died for our country is to work for peace to make sure that no one else must pay that price. We honor them by voting, by staying active in the affairs of our country, we can gather together with family and friends and enjoy the day knowing someone else paid for it.

In more tangible ways, we can volunteer at a vet hospital or home, we can reach out to service men currently arriving and send them a care package or words of love and appreciation, volunteer to clean up a vet memorial park or simply visit one.

Anything other than buying more things for ourselves.

This Memorial Day, I won't be shopping. I encourage you to do the same.

Happy Memorial Day.