This is Memorial Day Weekend, with Monday being Memorial Day itself. We “celebrate” it every year near the end of May. A lot of people confuse it with thanking veterans for their service, but it is actually to respect and remember all who left in a uniform to protect us but never returned home. But there is no harm in thanking a vet any chance you get, it’s just important for you to know the difference. A chance to pause, reflect and be grateful that these young men and women fought for our freedoms, and be somber for those that did not return.
It’s very different this year. The gratitude is still there, but it doesn’t feel the same. There are no parades, no big memorial services. We need to keep ourselves socially distanced yet, and big crowds just aren’t a safe scene. It’s sad, because for a lot of people, they need that togetherness to get the full effect of why we take pause this weekend. Our aging veterans are often together at these events. There aren’t many World War II veterans left, and the Korean War vets as well as the Vietnam vets are getting older. The veterans from the Gulf War, Afghanistan and the other conflicts in the Middle East are getting to be middle aged and older as well. These events really mean something to these guys. They should mean a lot to all of us. So please take some time this weekend between the adult beverages and flipping the burgers on the grill to think about them, and their lost brothers and sisters.
I would never ask or suggest that this weekend be about things other than remembering sacrifices made by these soldiers, sailors and airmen, or their families left behind. But just this time around, I am thinking also about all of the families that have lost loved ones during this pandemic. Lots of lives have been lost worldwide, and the numbers are still adding up. Things like this do not happen often, thank God. Any life cut short by an illness, accident or other circumstance makes me sad, really. But this has been so different to me, because it has hit people of every demographic, and hit without prejudice. Rich people, poor people, any ethnic group, male, female, on and on. I know it’s been particularly hard on elderly people, and I just read that more men have died than women. I haven’t checked that, but really the whole thing has just shown me that the ‘Rona takes no prisoners, sort of. I am thinking of them all this weekend too.
Of course I think of my lost family members this weekend, a little more than I normally do. When you lose people you love, they aren’t ever far from your thoughts. That is just the way it is. Age does this to you. Life gives you many people through the years, and the longer you are around, it takes some of them away from you. Remembering those people, and how they affected your life is a part of this process of Life. It’s a blessing really, although when you are going through the loss it feels like a curse. But you should always love in a big way, and live in a big way, so that you get the most out of all of it.
As you navigate the rest of this Memorial Day weekend, whether it is Up North, or just keeping it close to home, I hope you are safe and healthy, and taking precautions to stay that way. Take the time you need to pause, and reflect. It is likely you know someone that fought and died for this country, or you know a family that lost someone. Our Earth is very large, but it is a Small World when you stop and think of everyone who touches your life. Pay the necessary respect to them, they more than earned that. If you should happen to think of the others you have loved and lost, well, that’s ok too. They earned that too, a special place in your heart.