Subsequent wars added to the numbers honored and the holiday was declared to bolster the fervor of the world wars of the last mid century, and now it is just one more long weekend at the beach or to the mountains to burn hotdogs and grill a primitive repast to celebrate the beginning of summer, the season of the barbecue.
Oh, there are still parades in small towns and cities, but they are largely made up of vintage police cars and marching SWAT teams, followed by the ever shrinking numbers of veterans groups left over from the “zebra brigade” days between the end or WWII and Korea. Back then such organizations carried some political weight that resulted in the G.I. Bill of education and home ownership to service survivors.
All of which miss the point entirely!
This is a day of the dead. Veterans get their own holiday next November eleventh. Hero police deserve honor, but not on this day. This is a day when we might well focus on the memory of those lives lost, and ponder why they died, in the clear vision of time passing. For what great cause did our loved ones pay that last measure of loyalty? Was the Spanish American War worth the price we paid four decades later with McArthur in the Philippines? How did we lose the Marines at the Chosen retreat, and was it worth it for a 50-year cease-fire?
We still cannot deal with Vietnam, Iraq or even Grenada. These are still open wounds for those who lost loved ones to stop the spread of the red menace. Much less can we even imagine why we are a hundred thousand troops deep in Afghanistan. Some say it’s about Americas image in world affairs, but most of the rest of the world’s nations already think we are crazy and stupid for trying to tame the Pashtun tribes of the Khyber Pass.
Memorial Day is exactly that. A day to remember who and why they died, not just a furniture close out sale and bonus trade in holiday at the local car dealership.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.