Memorial Day

Tina Haapala |

I hope you are having a great holiday weekend and enjoy the (fill in the blank) you are planning today. For me, I’ll be mostly doing chores and catching up on work. I took my three-day weekend last week down in Dallas, which is when and where I am writing this. You see, last Saturday was Armed Forces Day.

I’ll admit that I often miss the holiday, as it doesn’t come with a three-day weekend. I don’t see “Happy Armed Forces Day” cards in the store, so I figure that Hallmark didn’t create it. In fact a Google search tells me that it started before I was born. Just so happened that last Saturday was also the day we took some of the local SeaBee contingent to a ballgame. It was an accident of scheduling that we ended up treating the sailors on the holiday dedicated to our men and women serving in the military. A nice accident.

This weekend it is Memorial Day. This one comes with a long weekend. As with most holidays, its purpose and meaning is, at best, in the back of the public’s mind. I guess that’s okay. If Christmas and Easter is more about getting presents and chocolate eggs than about the Son of God, I suppose it’s to be expected that most people see this as a day to hit the beach or the mall rather than visit a cemetery.

My guess is that most of the folks in those graveyards have no particular problem with you playing volleyball, taking in the latest movie, or getting some work done in the garden. The freedom and ability to do that is, after all, why they served our country in its times of need—why they gave up part of their life, and for some their very life.

But while they might not mind, we should if we allow ourselves to enjoy what they bought for us in sweat and blood and not on a conscious level acknowledge what they gave us. My Mom made sure I wrote a thank you note after receiving a present before I was allowed to play with it. So take this moment to say a thank you to those who made our leisure possible.

To you in the military, and the police, firefighters, and emergency services, thank you for what you are doing.

To you veterans, than you for what you have done.

And to those who have passed on, thank you for leaving so many gifts for me to enjoy. I hope that I will appreciate their cost and treat them with care.


This article was published under the title "Don't forget reason behind this three-day weekend"

in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on  May 25, 2014.