Memorial Day is a grim holiday. It’s a secular Good Friday, a day to commemorate those who died for our sins, the soldiers who gave the last full measure of their devotion.
Memorial Day is not Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day celebrates all who have served. Memorial Day is a magnitude greater.
We’ve lost a lot of soldiers since 1775.
We still lose soldiers, not quite every day like a few years back, but one by one or sometimes in twos and fours. We don’t pay much attention to these deaths; they get about as much space in the news as a fatal car wreck or a bus plunge on the way to an Indian casino. They get even less space in our heads. Of course these are all sad stories, but what can we do? Car crashes have been happening since we’ve had cars and war has been happening in perpetuity. We’re now in year 16 of a war that began on September 11th, 2001 and there’s no end in sight. So it shouldn’t be too surprising most of us don’t give five seconds thought to Memorial Day other than to reserve parking at LAX in advance because the airport is crazy-busy on a long weekend.
It wasn’t always like this.
During World War II everyone had skin in the game. There was hardly a family in America that didn’t have someone close to them serving in uniform. Thirteen million out of a population just under 150 million. Today we have less than a million and a half in uniform out of a population of more than 320 million. It’s like the chicken and the pig planning…
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