Memorially Speaking*

I have been hard-pressed not to editorialize over Memorial Day this year. Instead, let me say simply it is a holiday with a disputed history and an often misunderstood focus. Currently, we designate the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.

For more than a century, that was not the case. It was celebrated on May 30 without regard for the day of the week. Today, the date changes annually, and the reason for the holiday is confusing to many.

For people like me, there is no confusion. Memorial Day is not the unofficial first day of summer. It is not the day the swimming pools traditionally open and is not a celebration of all who served in the military.

It is the day we honor those who died in military service. It is the day to remember those making the ultimate sacrifice, so you and I can swim, grill, and look forward to sunburns and time at the lake. As with all issues of this nature, there are still reasons to enjoy the holiday.

First, most people have a three-day weekend. Then there are all the special events, pool openings, golf tournaments, races, etc. It’s a long weekend that will let them take a break from reality and relax. It is also a long weekend that makes the significance of May 30 dim in the minds of many.

For people like me, it is the beginning of time for remembering and honoring those we lost. It is also time to remember the cost of those losses. It is a time of remembrance lasting from Friday until the 30th, which is Tuesday this year.

My brother’s funeral, KIA Vietnam, February 1969.

One way to honor and remember those making the ultimate sacrifice is through music. Over the years, I found several songs that do just that. Here, I want to share a song that may not have been written to memorialize fallen members of the armed services. Yet, in many ways, it does.

As the song makes clear, everyone lives and dies. We should strive to live life to the fullest as long as we can. Sadly, many of us fail to push the envelope and make memories that will stay with us to the end. Most of the men and women we celebrate and remember on Memorial Day lost their opportunity to sample all life has to offer.

If Memorial Day means more to you than hot dogs, beer, and pool time, click the link below, and check back in later, there may be more to come.

Not Every Man Lives**

*I originally posted this blog in May 2020. It seemed appropriate to share it again this year.

**An ad may pop up when YouTube opens. If so, you can skip the ad and watch the entire video after a few seconds. Also, the Memorial Day connection in this video takes a minute to become clear.

© Р2023

About S. Eric Jackson

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