Gauging from many of the comments I’ve seen online today, this is “Generic Military Service Day,” the day when people offer generic and non-specific thanks to unnamed persons, living or dead, who have served in the U. S. Armed Forces. We as a society have eviscerated any relevance remaining within “Decoration Day” or “Memorial Day” and in our mass cognitive ignorance and apathy have replaced it with about the same level of meaning most of society reserves for Easter, which has become “Happy Decorated Eggs and Chocolate Day,” having nothing at all to do with the amazing miracle of the Son of God actually rising from the dead after paying with his life for the sins of the whole world.
Cultures throughout time have defined themselves in part through the festivals they observed. These have helped to pass on cultural memes and shared community values to succeeding generations, ensuring continuity for the culture. When cultural institutions rot, or are assaulted by the culture to the point they lose relevance, we lose a big part of that. Now we have July 4th morphing into “Fireworks Day”, Memorial Day becoming this thin and nearly meaningless generic military service holiday, and “Cinco De Mayo” and “Earth Day” are becoming more and more culturally relevant despite them having nothing to do with this country at all.
This becomes particularly troubling when political candidates not only fall into this confusion, but then doggedly try to defend it when it’s pointed out that they’re confused. I’ve seen it from candidates who are relative newcomers to this country, and I get them not quite understanding the history of Decoration Day, although it’s hard to fathom why they so fiercely try to defend what is essentially ignorance. I’ve even seen this from candidates who are veterans themselves, and they doggedly defend their ignorance as well. When this cultural rot extends all the way to the presumptive champions of our cultural heritage itself, we’re in deep trouble.
The next time a political candidate starts sending out thanks to veterans on Memorial Day, I think I’m gonna hurl.
My family doesn’t have a huge military tradition, but my Grandmother’s brother Eddie was a P-51 Mustang pilot in World War II. He never made it back. He was shot down over Norway. My Grandmother never knew where his body actually fell until pretty recently when some locals in a small Norwegian Town started investigating the mysterious crash site and were finally able to gather enough evidence that allowed the body to be identified. She got a chance to go to Norway and pay her respects with a small American flag that she planted there, and got her chance, so long delayed to have her own Memorial Day in a faraway land where her big brother’s life ended. While she’s in pretty good health for someone of her age now, making that trip more than once just isn’t possible, so in her lifetime she really got just one Memorial Day. One.
So you political candidates who want to get lazy and ignorant with the real meaning of Memorial Day, it’s about time you got yourself educated a bit. You look like a fool promoting “Generic Military Service Day” even if you don’t call it that, and those of us out there with Uncle Eddie’s just get pissed off at you demeaning the one day reserved for them. As you tear the meaning of this day away, you demonstrate that you’re not the solution to America’s problems, you are part of what troubles America.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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