Memorial Day (U.S.) Tribute

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 31, 2012
First, a word of explanation. I wrote the following post for a military newsgroup on USENET thirteen years ago. The next year I reposted it (with some edits) and also submitted it to some other groups. The next year I did that plus sent it to a couple of newspapers. Since then I have usually tried to find someplace new to post it. This has become a personal pact that I have made between me and those I honor on Memorial Day.

I know that this is an international forum. I don't believe that matters. The concepts are pretty universal and most nations have some analog to the American holiday I am specifically referring to and my pledge is not just to Americans but to all people everywhere that have made this sacrifice for these reasons.

I would love to post this where everyone on the board would see it - but I will not do that. This board has rules and part of what these people fought for was the Rule of Law and therefore I refuse to undermine the very thing they died for just to more effectively honor them.


Today is Memorial Day. To many, possibly most, Americans it is a day off from work, a day to visit loved ones, a day to take a short vacation with the family, a day to get some good prices at a variety of sales - in short, a day to take a break and have fun.

There was a time, when I was a teenager, when these things angered me - and angered me rather deeply. I felt that Memorial Day was a day to honor and show gratitude to those men and women who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedoms that we do. Is it really so much to ask that we take one day a year to so honor those that have given so much? Just one day?

But with age has come - I hope - an ability to think less literally and more symbolically on a deeper level. When a parent makes sacrifices so that their child can have benefits the parent never had, that parent fully intends for the child to use and enjoy those benefits. Nothing makes the parent happier nor confirms the righteousness of their sacrifices more than to see their child's life improved as a result of those sacrifices, be it a solid education or a shining smile once the braces are removed. The last thing that a parent would want would be for their child to feel so guilty about benefiting from the parent's sacrifices that they would discard, even for a day, the very thing the parent worked so hard to provide them.

This nation's veterans served so that their children, and all Americans, could enjoy the benefits of freedom. Those that we honor on this day wanted us to have that freedom so much that they purchased it with their very blood. It is inconceivable that those capable of such a selfless act would not want us to make the absolute most of those freedoms every day - and in particular on a day set aside for their remembrance. For whether they are taken from us, we discard them willingly, or we simply fail to exercise them, if we don't use and enjoy those freedoms then the sacrifices of those we honor have been in vain.

So go ahead and have a good time. Enjoy the day to the fullest. Enjoy your family and friends most of all. To do so is not to dishonor those that gave their lives for this nation - it is, in reality, the greatest honor we can pay to them. It is a celebration of life and a reaffirmation that they did not die in vain.

We only truly dishonor them when we fail to acknowledge them and the debt we owe them, at least on this one day a year. So I do ask that you take a moment during whatever activities you have planned today and publicly express your appreciation and gratitude to those that bought your freedom for you and the grievously horrible price they were willing to pay for it.

As for the debt we owe them - we can never pay it back, for they are gone. So we must pay it forward. We must make it known to the world that we are willing to step up an be counted if and when the time comes to secure these freedoms for our children and future generations - and we must accept that the price for it might be dear. Only by taking on this mantle of resposibility can we even begin to earn the gift we have received.

Today is Memorial Day. Rest in peace, my brothers and sisters. I thank you heart and soul for the limitless love you have shown for me and my fellow Americans, generations past and generations yet to come. I pledge to you that as long as I am alive, you will not be forgotten and your sacrifices will not have been in vain.