By Boot Girl Myra
You have, after all, been given a whole day to reflect, free of charge, compliments of the US government. Memorial Day is a national holiday. So what if you just took one minute to reflect on those whose lives gave you a free day off?
If you just took 30 seconds you could recall:
August 6, 2011 – 30 US service members KIA logging the largest loss of Navy SEAL life in one operation not even a year ago.
Or perhaps you might watch this very interesting visual from CNN. This time-release graph calculates the location in the Middle East where all loss of life since 2002 occurred at the same time showing you where they were from in the US. It only takes a minute, so that would leave you with 23 hours, 59 minutes to enjoy the rest of your Memorial holiday.
Heck, do both. Then you’re at 23 hours 58 minutes to clean the grill, take a nap, read the paper and eat some watermelon before cashing in on some great sales.
What if you took five minutes to remember those who gave their lives for you? You could learn about a long-forgotten story of young Sr. Airman David Livingston who died on US soil defending his country in a small town of Arkansas. He was on duty at a base where a TITAN II Missle was punctured, sprung a leak and then exploded inside it’s holding chamber. Maybe you could pause for an extra second and remember his sister, Marcia who grew up without her brother but favors him in looks and mannerisms. She took her children to the now-closed site last year to remember their uncle whom they never met.
Perhaps, if you are in the movie-going mood on your Memorial holiday take a couple hours in your day and remember those who gave their lives during WWII, defending France, Britain and a host of other nations who needed our help. You could watch a movie like Saving Private Ryan or Pearl Harbor or other films that depict the cost of war.
You might pause to reflect on the hard truth that war brings controversy, not everyone agrees, and it isn’t black and white. It’s gray; through and through. There was a time when serving wasn’t a choice like it is today. Maybe you don’t like war movies at all but Good Morning Vietnam has just enough humor with Robin Williams in it, to get you through the difficult message that war is messy, ugly, painful and sometimes, or more appropriate, a lot confusing. It’s especially so when you don’t have a choice to enlist; you go off and do your part only to return home to people who hate you for going.
If you really wanted to use your whole day for what it’s cracked up to be, then read a book. Lone Survivor or Service, both by Marcus Luttrell or Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell give realistic accounts of war, the cost of freedom while addressing the uncomfortable truths about both sides of the argument.
Whatever you do, pay tribute. Even for a second. Someone paid the ultimate price so you can have a Memorial holiday. As you head to your holiday celebrations on your day off, give thanks for your US military who has your back while you party; even though Thanksgiving is still six months away!