It’s not just another three-day weekend. It’s not an indicator that summer has arrived. This day shouldn’t be excitedly anticipated. Pool parties and barbecues will never be the substance that pays homage to this day. Putting your crisp, freshly unfolded flag out doesn’t constitute celebrating.
Memorial Day reminds us that we continue to fight against foreign and domestic evils. It reiterates that there will always be an enemy, even if we desperately try to love one another. Every generation will have soldiers, and of those soldiers, there will be those who wait for us to decorate their graves.
When watching the nightly news becomes unbearable and reading the paper turns to infuriation, we must remember those who died in service. The world will continue to madly spin and we’ll keep asking the question, “How do we make this stop?” Since its inception, the world has had no answer.
We dream about the Memorial Day when we would grieve for soldiers of wars past, but our conflicts are still too fresh. They will continue and every year we will once again speak about seeing an end in sight.
The light at the end of the tunnel is a mirage. It will always be out of reach, and not just for our dear country. War has become accepted and embraced as a means of protection. Our brothers and sisters fight for this perpetual cause. This cause will never be in vain, but hold true for the everlasting freedom we search out.
We plant flowers in remembrance of our fallen countrymen. We must bring beauty to this stark contrast of reality we face every year. It will continue annually until all we see is fields of flowers, reminding us of what we’ve lost.
It’s not about a race. It’s not about collecting candy by the curb while watching a parade. It’s not about a concert in the park or firecrackers. It’s about understanding the depth of sacrifice. It is remembering the service men and women who’ve fallen while waving our tattered flag.
This day is not a celebration or holiday. Born out of grief and solemn spirit by those mourning their loved ones, Decoration Day offered an alternative to the ugliness thrust upon them. We may not walk grave to grave as our ancestors did, but we continually pray for the peaceful rest our fallen soldiers deserve.
While remembrance seems too soft a word to describe the ache of loss, our country can only bow her head. The words are lost and the questions remain. Love and peace and compassion will wait until a further moment. Until then, we’ll happily place flowers on their graves.
Jim Jackson of Frankfort is a freelance writer.