Or happy three-day weekend (if you’re off today), whatever you like to call it.
Back in the day, I never really got the point of this holiday. Then my cousins started joining the military, my mom married a guy with kids who were traveling all over the world in the Air Force, and then I married an Army man (Hooah! Love going out to the 290th MP Company). I get it now.
My family telling me about the friends they lost in Vietnam and the friends they lost in the first Gulf War conflict made me have some extra respect for this day. Seeing pictures of the friends they lost made it real. Even to a eight or ten year old me. However, I still looked at this day as an extra day off from school and/or work. I never bothered to celebrate. Threw some on the grill and went shopping.
Marrying D brought it home for me, though. Listening to his stories of being at the Pentagon right after September 11 helping carry the bodies out of the building, listening to his war stories from over in Afghanistan, and watching him have flashbacks in his sleep reminded me how lucky I am that my soldier came home. Lots of them don’t. Too many of them don’t. Too many mothers and wives and daughters and sons and sisters and brothers hear “Taps” play for a final time for their soldier while they watch him or her lowered into the ground. Yeah, D and I will be buried at Arlington but it won’t be because of some IED attack. A lot of families make the trip to that hallowed ground because of said attacks or some other unfortunate accident that bring their serviceman/woman home in a box. I’m lucky.
So today, we are going to throw a few on the grill with our friends and enjoy our day off. But before that we will pay our respects at our war memorial. We will hang our flag in solidarity. We will honor those who didn’t make it home, while cherishing the ones who have and the ones who will. I’m not saying you need to do the same, but even if you just give a passing thought to the people who gave their lives so you could have this day off that’d be great.
Happy Memorial Day, yall.