It’s that difficult time of year again – difficult for me, at any rate. Every year on Memorial Day the USA remembers and honors those who died while serving in the armed forces. That’s laudable, and I share in their commemoration . . . but to me, there are so many more who should be part of that commemoration, but are not, because of the arbitrary cut-off of “served in the Armed Forces”. I know so many who died while doing their best to serve in wars and armed conflicts, but were never formally members of any military organization. They are left out of celebrations like this, whereas a member of the armed forces who died of, say, appendicitis, or influenza, or something else unrelated to combat, is honored. There’s also the people who are left behind. What about their sacrifice, their sorrow? Why is that not honored too?
I still can’t quite wrap my mind around those things. I suppose that’s part of being an immigrant to this country. Our background, our perspective, is wider and more diverse than those who’ve grown up with the Memorial Day tradition.
I’ve said a lot in earlier years about what this day means to me. I urge you to go and read those articles, if you haven’t already done so. One in particular – starred with asterisks below – can still bring tears to my eyes, because those memories have never grown less real to me; in fact, they seem to grow more real over the years. In chronological order, they are:
May all who served, and all who survived them, and all who gave their lives so that others (including ourselves) might know the blessings of peace, rest in peace.