Today, May 30, 2022, we have a twofer. The traditional Memorial Day and the last day of a Congress-crafted three-day weekend fall on the same day. For most folks, that makes little difference. For those who have a personal reason to hold Memorial Day in our hearts it does.
I guess this is better than celebrating the government “holiday” and forgetting the day originally set aside to remember those who died in the service of our country. That happens most other years when May 30th does not fall on the last Monday of the month.
I know! I am a bit of an old fuddy-duddy about some things. For example, Memorial Day should not be the last day of a three-day weekend. It should be a day of remembrance, contemplation, and memorial, not a “let’s have one more party and get ready for Tuesday” day.
On the other hand, since it is a government holiday, I feel less remorseful about co-opting it for something akin to Veteran’s Day. Yes, another day that is often confusing to the last couple of generations. Is Veteran’s Day for those who died, are still alive, or what!?
The reality is, individually, we can remember whomever we like. There is no way to make one day sufficient to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice or survived their service but carried the scars for the rest of their lives. For example, the picture below includes a guy whose buddy promised to look him up after Vietnam when they parted company in-country. As with many others, the reunion was not what he hoped.
For me, this year is a bit more confusing than normal. As usual, I want to remember my brother David who was KIA in Vietnam. He was a character, and we were estranged for years. Still, his service changed him, and I was hoping we could become friends again. That hope ended on February 26, 1969.
Also, I am thinking of some friends I lost in the past few months. They served our country honorably in their military and civilian careers, and they are on my mind. This may not be their holiday. Still, as the title of this piece implies, serving in the military is not limited to one’s time in uniform. It is impossible to ignore their passing. RIP Fred, Steve, and Ernie.