I am actually already on my 4 day weekend, so my Memorial Day weekend has arrived. But I just wanted to take a moment, and remind people about Memorial Day. As much as I enjoy barbecues, swimming pools, good sales, and summer fun, that all doesn't really have to do with why American has Memorial Day. It is supposed to be a day where people recognize those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation. Those that gave their "last full measure," and gave selflessly of themselves, so that others may enjoy freedoms. It is about honoring the patriots who have gone before us, and given their blood for the "tree of liberty."
I am not saying that people shouldn't enjoy their Memorial Day weekend. The people of this nation have the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I actually think that enjoying those things is a great way to pay homage to the sacrifice of veterans. Freedom is one of the things that makes this country great, so enjoy the fact that you can get together with your family for a barbecue. Because there are people elsewhere in the world who don't get that chance. Living life to the fullest, is showing respect for those that died to give all of us the ability to do so. No man goes to war hoping that the country he is defending is full of miserable people, if that was the case, the nation wouldn't be worth fighting for. But the American way of life is worth fighting for, and thankfully better men than me have gone before, and paid the debt for the rest of us. And brave men and women continue to do so on a daily basis.
So I think everyone should enjoy their weekend, but I don't think that asking someone to take one hour a day (for a total of 3 on a 72 hour 3 day weekend), and reflect on the subject is that much. Hell, you could just watch the movie Gettysburg, or We Were Soldiers, or Tora! Tora! Tora! or the opening to Saving Private Ryan, but instead of watching it for entertainment value, use it as a way to reflect on those who were actually in those battles, and be thankful for their sacrifice. I would say try to place yourself their, but combat really is impossible to describe to someone who has never been in it, but you could try to do so.
Fly the flag outside your house, and treat it right. I personally think every house should have a flag flying every day it is appropriate (so not in bad weather), and treat the flag right. Don't let it touch the ground, raise it quickly, and lower it with respect, if you want to fly it after sunset, have a light source on it. None of that is very hard to do, so why don't more people fly the flag? It takes under 5 minutes a day to put one up in the morning, and take down at night, and to treat it right. That isn't much of a sacrifice to show love for the nation that provides us all with such freedom.
If you really want to appreciate the sacrifices of the people who have died to make the nation great, go find a copy of the book Unbroken, by Lauren Hillenbrand. I just finished reading it yesterday. It was well worth the few hours it took me to read, and anyone who would disagree with that, probably wouldn't of made it this far in this blog post that is oozing patriotism, and love for my country.
Of course, this is all just my opinion, and really, since this is a free country, people can do whatever they want with their Memorial Day weekend. No one is going to force American citizens at bayonet point to go to a parade, or a memorial service, or to put flowers on a veteran's grave. But I think that if people stepped out of their busy lives for a minute, and really reflected on the sacrifice millions of complete strangers have made so that they can live the way they want, America as a culture may not take their freedoms for granted so much. But I am just a knuckle-dragging grunt, so what do I know?