Memorial Day for many Americans is celebrated as the official start of summer. A time for families to gather around the grill and enjoy the sun. While there’s nothing wrong with spending time together with family, this is not what Memorial Day means or was intended to mean. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.
It was established after the civil war by both union and confederate soldiers who gathered to decorate the graves of the fallen. That still happens today at Arlington National Cemetery. Many of my veteran friends really struggle on Memorial Day. I myself had a very difficult time for many years getting through that day.
My wife referred to it as one of the days of the year that “we just leave daddy alone!” The reason so many veterans struggle through this particular day is many of us have extreme survivor’s guilt.
We were physically present when these hero’s made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. After many years of struggling with this survivor’s guilt, one year I had a break through.
These men who I served with, deployed with, laughed with, and fought alongside didn’t just do it for the civilian population’s freedom but mine as well. To sully there sacrifice on the day of the year that is to celebrate the freedom they paid for was unacceptable. The freedom for me to continue living in the greatest nation on the planet. The freedom to raise my family and see my children grow.
Memorial Day to me isn’t summed up in those two words.
A day about real hero’s that really loved their nation. A day to enjoy your freedom and live your life in memory of those who gave theirs.