“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton
It makes me cringe when people say “Happy Memorial Day,” because they are lumping this day of observance of those who have died for our freedom in with any other holiday of which they have a day off.
Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have fallen in service to our country.
It is so tiring to have to continually repeat this bit of fact to those who should know. The facebook generation is too busy celebrating themselves and anything and everything that distracts themselves from the reality of the world.
A few years back my husband was teaching algebra at a “Christian High School” and a conversation somehow started in which the students began to express themselves about what they would do if our country were invaded by an enemy. Would they be alarmed and want to defend themselves? Only three students out of a class of fifteen would be willing to take up arms and defend our country, our state, their city, their neighborhood, their home.
Not long after that conversation, my husband, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a retired full Colonel in the U.S. Army who served thirty years and earned three Masters Degrees in Business Administration, Mathematical Modeling and Teaching, was counseled to please refrain from speaking to the students about anything having to do with the military because certain parents who were on the Board of the school did not want their children to serve in the military and were afraid that my husband’s accounts of his service in the military and stories of his days at West Point and his mathematical tie-ins to the history of our country were becoming too compelling to their children.
Although my husband really enjoyed teaching his students, he began to sum up the countless demands made on him that year. There was the interference of parents who demanded that their children be given grades they didn’t deserve. There was the proscription against giving too much homework to the students because their extra-curricular activities were so much more important. And of course, my husbands’ former career seemed suspect.
In a climate like that, he resigned. One would think that military service would be honored in a Christian School but it wasn’t. Not really. This Christian School was not a Quaker School. It was a traditional Christian School. Many Christian parents for some reason seemed to believe that raising their children to be ministers or missionaries was pleasing to God but sending them to serve their country was not. Thank goodness that is not what American Christians believed in Revolutionary Days, or the Days of the Civil War or even the Days of World War ll.
But in the seventies the American people were throwing away tradition and the time-honored custom of observing Memorial Day on May 30th was lost. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War for many years the military was not welcomed into the American community. Former or retired members of the military are still not accepted in some institutions as they should be.
“Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.” — VFW 2002 Memorial Day address