Memorial Day…it’s a “different” day to me now in some ways. I must confess when I was in Army uniform for so many years I was not always as aware as one might expect a military man to be, pertaining to the REAL meaning of Memorial Day. Sure, like my neighbors at Army installation family housing areas worldwide we dutifully hung American flags on our homes in recognition of the day, but I am somewhat sad to admit all these years later that many of us then were a bit more focused on holiday neighborhood picnics, golf outings, and “fun” activities outside so long as the weather cooperated. In other words, we did not celebrate and honor as much as we should have, all the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform throughout history…on MEMORIAL Day. Today, it’s different…for me at least.
Maybe it’s because I am older and wiser now. Maybe it’s because I no longer look to holidays such as Memorial Day as being mostly “time off” from my professional duties. Now, being mostly retired, all days are “Saturday” and I can do pretty much do what I want to do, when I want to do it…thanks to the good Lord. More importantly, when I fly our U.S. flag in our back yard on its 25 foot high aluminum pole, I think about what the flag means much more than I once did. When I read news about those deployed in combat I think much more about what they are doing, and how it all affects their family back home. And lastly, when I see a soldier in uniform I say “Thanks for your service” if the opportunity presents. This is a part of the real meaning of Memorial Day and we all ought to celebrate it that way.
Thus, Memorial Day means a lot more “out of uniform” to me today than it once did when I was “in uniform.” I suspect I am not in the minority in this regard.