Before Coffee: Memorial Day

May 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US, so this long weekend is full of remembrances of those who gave their lives in war. Most towns have some kind of celebration, usually in the form of a parade. Veterans and fire trucks and marching bands and such. Military pilots have a busy few days, doing flyovers of baseball games and special events. There may be fireworks displays, but most communities save those for July 4th.

In the publishing world, some journalist or blogger will inevitably push out a piece about the “true meaning” of the day, and how we’re all bad people for having pool parties and cookouts and fun in general, when we should be having somber reflections upon the dead and the Great Price of Freedom.

And yes, we should never forget the awful price of war; not just the dead, but the survivors of it. The men and women who come back scarred, be it physical disfigurements or mental wounds that will never fully heal. 

But we should also celebrate what they were sent to defend. Not just capital-F Freedom, but the things we can do because we’re free. Pool parties and cookouts and fun in general. 

From what I’ve gleaned in talking with veterans who’ve been deployed, what they’re thinking about in their quiet, lonely hours is home and family and friends; the good times they’ve had, the parties they’re missing, and the fun they’ll enjoy when they get home. Cold beer. Burgers hot off the grill. A cannonball into the deep end on a hot day.

Maybe that’s a little too Norman Rockwell for you. Maybe you believe that wars have been and will continue to be fought for no other reason then to help the rich get richer. Whether that’s true or not, it doesn’t change what the men and women thrown into the meat grinder dream about and long for when they’re away from home.

So yeah, remember those who died or were injured in the service of our country. But don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing what they fought to come home to.

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