“Happy” Memorial Day?
I made the mistake of wishing someone a Happy Good Friday once. This somberest of days in the Christian tradition is just a Friday for me. A Friday with very little morning traffic. A Friday typically before a long weekend. I didn’t know I had put my foot in it until a friend pulled me to the side and mentioned it wasn’t, perhaps, so happy at all.
And so it is with Memorial Day. I was riding by bike by Arlington Cemetery this morning and saw one small flag beside every single tombstone. Thousands of them. Thousands. And I saw the vets on their motorcycles, hundreds of them, leathered faces and leather jackets. And I thought to myself, this is Memorial Day. There are people we are remembering. It is not happy.
As I hear people wishing each other a Happy Memorial Day as they pack their cars and head to the beach, it gives me pause. Go enjoy the beach, the booze, the bbq – but remember why you can. Because they fought. And fight. And will fight for you and millions of other strangers who they will never meet, and who will never thank them for their service.