Monday, May 27, 2013
Happy? Memorial Day
Last year, I wrote a blog for Memorial Day that was deep and reflective. That's kinda the mood I get in to when I think about Memorial Day... a day to remember those that have fallen, sacrificing their lives protecting the freedoms of our country.
That's also why I sat at my computer for a while wondering the best way to word my title. To me, do I really want to say "Happy Memorial Day" to someone who is spending their day thinking about lost loved ones? It has always felt weird for me to say that, even though I've seen post after post on Facebook saying it.
Memorial Day is an important day. I've driven by some graveyards these past couple of days that are just breathtakingly beautiful. Our new house is just across the street from a pretty large graveyard, and it's nice to see all of the colorful flowers and American flags decorating all of the graves. For me, that's what Memorial Day is about. Family coming together, showing that loved ones are never forgotten and are still cared for, and remembering the sacrifices that the fallen soldiers have made for our benefits.
I have already seen news posts about Westboro Baptist Church protesting over Memorial Day or spreading nasty hate about Memorial Day. Stuff like that makes me so sad. They get to spew off their hate and dislike for soldiers, when the only reason they are allowed to say all of that nasty stuff is because of the sacrifice and hard work of them same soldiers. It just doesn't make sense to me. Those crazy people spew off about their right to the first amendment... but smack the people in the face that protects that freedom.
My personal take is that if a hate group... or any group for that matter... protests the military and the freedoms soldiers protect, they shouldn't be allowed to use them. Thank God for Dead Soldiers? OK, you don't need the rights of free speech... no more spewing hate and protesting anything for you! Immediate ban of Westboro Baptist Church and all of it's members! When they complain and whine how "unconstitutional" it is... have them take it up with the soldiers that have spent their adult lives protecting the freedoms of the constitution. Let them explain why they are allowed to hate the military, parade signs around that actually praise the killing of soldiers, but still get to use the soldiers to protect the freedom for them to say that. Urm... don't think they'd get very far.
It sure is convenient for them to picket and protest and spread hate when they are hiding behind the first amendment. I don't think it should apply to those people that are using it hypocritically. And I only think that about groups that hate the military. I don't think there's anything wrong with disagreeing with political reasons of war. I don't think there's anything wrong with disagreeing with military tactics or decisions. Just don't blame the soldiers that aren't making the decisions, but are just carrying out orders. When our country is in trouble or under attack...it's not the important people that are out there fighting the fight. It's the soldiers that are making measly pay, leaving family behind, gone for months, and sometimes never coming home. How on earth can anyone hate those people?
I didn't really plan on going off on a big tangent like that. I guess it's my roundabout way of saying that I respect and thank all soldiers that have fought or continue to fight for this country. I may disagree with many political decision. I may disagree with some of the rights that aren't extended to all groups of people. I may disagree with some rights that are extended to people that shouldn't be. But, at the end of the day, I'm allowed to have my opinions and I'm also free to express those opinions thanks to the military personnel that fight to protect those freedoms.
So, today, remember those that have fallen. Honor them. Thank them. Whether it be with a BBQ, swimming, visiting a graveyard, having a family get-together. Whatever it may be. You and I have the right to choose how to show your respect. You and I get to choose how to greet each other. You and I can sit and ponder what the correct way to extend a well-wish of Memorial Day is. And all of those things are because of the brave men and women in the military.