Many of us are looking forward to a three-day weekend. Depending on who you are, that means camping, fishing, boating, any number of activities we usually don't have time for, or maybe just sleeping in late on Monday. I ask that everyone take time and remember why this opportunity exists - the true meaning of Memorial Day.
I am personally loathe to call this a "holiday." Memorial Day is not, at least in my mind, a time for celebration, it is a time for somber and reverent remembrance of the men and women who have sacrificed their all, shed their blood, given their lives in this country's wars.
Whether a draftee or part of a volunteer force, those that have died defending America's values, died that we may be a free people, deserve no less and so much more than to be remembered and honored one day a year.
I don't care what your politics may be; I don't care if you've ever served our country; I don't care what you believe about the wars America has engaged in - if you can't or won't respect and honor the servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield, you do not deserve the freedoms, rights and liberties they have died for.
I know a lot of veterans, and I don't know any who enjoy war. I don't know any who believe it is a good thing, and I don't know any who don't wish there were some other way. But most believe it is a necessary thing. As long as there are tyrants, dictators, repressive, abusive regimes without respect for basic human rights and dignity, wars will be necessary. As long as one person covets what is not theirs, as long as nation states seek to dominate and rule peoples against their will, wars will be necessary. If you think not, you are a fool. If you think you do not owe a debt to those who bled and died that you may live in peace, you are wrong and do not deserve the freedoms, rights and liberties for which they have bled and died.
I don't know who coined the following definition of a veteran, but it is accurate: A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."
So while you are out this weekend chugging your beer, riding your jet ski or quad, or fishing on the lake, take a few minutes and think about the checks written and cashed that gave you these three days to enjoy. To properly observe Memorial Day flags are to be flown at half-staff until noon on Monday, and at 3 p.m., a "Moment of Remembrance" is to be observed for those who have died that we may live in freedom.
On Memorial Day, we remember and honor in solemn reverence those who wrote those checks and our nation under God that has cashed them. How dare you not? Semper Fidelis, and may God bless your free American soul.
Linda La Porte
Former SSgt USMC