Memorial Day Is Not Just a Vacation, It’s a Day of Remembrance
First thing's first: Memorial Day is NOT a holiday.
For those who may have forgotten, allow me to educate you on why we are gifted with a three-day weekend:
This country that we live in, this beautiful, diverse country, has been built on the very blood that was shed from United States soldiers. Women and men who fought and crawled with every last survival instinct and loyalty to this nation.
I get it, you've worked hard enough and "deserve" an extra day of rest. A day where you might get to avoid punching in on the time-clock, but only if you're "lucky."
A weekend where you might not have to stress about being hung over on a Monday.
Whatever your excuse may be to conjure up a long weekend of boozing and partying, you may want to take a step back and look at the cold, hard facts. Memorial Day may come once a year to you, but for some, it comes every single day.
If you're reading this right now, there's a 50/50 chance that you've either served and understand this article, or you're still delusional to the fact that it's NOT a weekend to get "lit."
Your parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, neighbors, classmates—at least one person who is a part of your life has either served, is currently serving, or has made the ultimate sacrifice.
This is just a fact of life.
The image of the young boy pictured above is my young cousin, Evan Arsenault, son of a United States Marine Corps veteran. At the age of nine years old, Evan is currently enlisted into the Fall River Young Marines program, proudly following his father's footsteps.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but perhaps this picture is worth a thousand lives. Lives that once walked this earth, protecting this country and everything it stood for, basking in the glory of freedom through fight and trial. Never giving up, always pushing forward, marching on, and never looking back.
It's true when they say, that our veterans and our military have been through hell and back. An uncharted course they signed up for (some willing and others without choice) that made or broke the very person they trained to become, unknowingly aware of what truly lies ahead of them on their destined path to ensure the safety of our country. Soldiers returning home battered and bruised, dismembered and disabled, mentally distraught and shattered.
Still think Memorial Day is a celebration? You might want to think again. Memorial Day may come once a year for most, but for some, it's an everyday occurrence.
All I ask is that you wake up Monday morning, not just this year, but every year following, and put in perspective the truth of the "holiday." It was never proposed for parties; it was created for remembrance. It's a day of mourning for those who gave everything they had, a day of tribute.
Here's an unsettling fact for you: every single day, 22 people who have served or are currently serving take their own lives due to PTSD-related issues. Think for a moment to see if you know 22 people in your own personal lives. That's a lot of people, if you ask me, and they are gone before you even get the chance to thank them for their service.
This statistic alone should upset you. I only know because it deeply upsets me.
So, if you plan on "living it up" on Monday, just because it's an extra day off to live your life, at least give the common courtesy of remembering those who fought and died for your rights.
They didn't have to, yet they were killed with honor knowing they served this country with every last ounce of fight they had left, just so YOU can have an extra day off from work.
Let that settle in, not just this Memorial Day, but every year following.