Memorial Day- What Does It Mean To You?

There really is no way for me to wish you a happy memorial day. It doesn't make any sense to me. I think of the families that have lost their sons, their husbands, their wives, their mothers and I just can't. There is a long sigh of sadness, a lump in my throat when I think of the blood and sacrifice. So, I just can't say - 'have a happy memorial day'. What's more, I don't understand what it means? How can we just put 'happy' in front of a word and begin to celebrate.

I grew up in Canada where we have Remembrance Day in November.   Every year, on Remembrance day, we would wear poppies on our left side to show a sign of solidarity and love to the soldiers who had given their lives. As a child in school, I recited the Ode of Remembrance alongside veterans who came to speak about the true perils of war. I can still imagine myself standing in a large gymnasium, hand on my heart at the age of 10 staring at the aging veteran in a wheel chair. There was no glamour. No celebration. Just a somber understanding of what these men and women must do so those of us living cushy, uncomplicated lives can go about our day.

The Ode of Remembrance is cited on Remembrance Day followed by the phrase "Lest we forget." :

The Ode of Remembrance:

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

On this Memorial Day, I would like us to forget - for just a moment - about the coveted 3 day holiday that marks the beginning of summer and think. Remember those who give so much and get so little. Think about who we are and how we can make a difference. Surely, our purpose cannot be to have the most when we die. Surely, it can not be to hurt our brothers and sisters. It has to be something more. Doesn't it?

I was moved by a veterans call to action against war, Ross Fenton.   His blog   was first printed in the The Boston Globe, I am reprinting a portion of it here because I not only agree with his question about the   futility of war but also because I believe we can reach peace without war.

"This Memorial Day, I ask you all to take a moment to read the news and to imagine those who have been asked to say goodbye to their loved ones. If you feel the same as I do, that the casualties and sorrow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused enough loss to our young people and their families, then consider asking your representatives in Congress, “Why?” Ask them when we, as a nation filled with veterans, can finally live a life that is truly peaceful, without war, and without so many soldiers dying in far reaches of the world. Then maybe we can honor all those who have sacrificed themselves for this nation. I truly hope for a Memorial Day when we can stand with pride and say “no” to war; “thank you” to all who have fallen; and thank you to those who have been left behind, for we are moving toward a peaceful life."

Banksy graffiti art

Please check out a few of the links below if you would like more info about Memorial day.

The Widow Project

More than 6,000 troupes killed at home and away

10 things to remember about Memorial Day