When did Memorial Day become another all-purpose “honor the troops” day? Was it so gradual I missed it?
It’s supposed to be about soldiers who gave their all. Bluntly, it’s to remember those who never got a chance to be veterans.
During today’s Dbacks game (against the US Military’s honorary team, the Padres) every mention of the day seems to be about families of serving military, etc. Maybe talking about dead people is too much of a bring-down, but still.
Both teams also are wearing camo-themed uniforms. I would think maybe black arm bands, or a tasteful poppy, would be more in line with what the day is supposed to be about.
Seriously, I think Memorial Day as it is actually observed is highly personal. Rather than showing shots of people standing somberly/expressing grief over graves, mass event organizers along with the people participating choose to honor those serving. There have been quite a few news stories over the past few days about people who did make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, both nationally as well as locally. Letterman had a Medal of Honor winner from the war in Afghanistan on last week (sorry, can’t remember his name). They spent much of the time talking about those who did not survive the attack. Letterman commonly has MOH recipients on his show, both to honor them and to honor their comrades who fell in battle.
The national fit of Troop-olatry has been going on for a while now. The collective consciousness had been beating itself so hard over “OMG, we treated the Viet Vets so badly” before Gulf I (but DID we do anything to make up to them?) that people got it into their heads that going forward we had to strike our breast and cry out how much we care for the troops every chance we get.
Which is a good and honorable thing to do, but is also easier than actually, like, doing something to give the servicemembers, veterans, and families better working/living conditions, better care services, more secure benefits, and better-thought-out missions that minimize their chances to get messed up in the first place.
I know it’s wrong, but I use the day to observe all those who have given their lives in service of the public. Whether that’s a soldier, firefighter, police officer, or Bob who got shot trying to stop a robbery.
I know it’s not technically correct, but we don’t have an equivalent day for the other folks and they deserve as much credit as a soldier.
How long before Santa trades in his red suit for camo? How long before we start seeing missiles and tanks on parade for Independence Day? This Patriotic Correctness and Troop Fetishism has jumped the shark long ago. Sure, the troops have important jobs to do. But so does everybody else.
I’m looking forward to some way to honor those who died while serving as farmers. I personally know more farmers who died doing their job than I know war dead (disclaimer - my mother’s brother was KIA in WWII). I suppose the same thing could be said about miners and truck drivers. People sometimes die doing their jobs, and some jobs have more immediate impact on our lives than far-off combat. Shouldn’t they be honored with a special day?
There was also a commercial during the game about an organization that the viewer could donate to, an organization to help our wounded veterans get the help they need.
I thought we already had such an organization? The VA is supposed to be doing that. Maybe we should fix the VA first?
In grade school, we had “Decoration Day” tasks: placing flowers on the graves, learning about Flanders Field, etc. IIRC, there was a subdued parade on Memorial Day. This would have been at the height of the Viet Nam war, but I don’t remember there being a lot of Nam mentions in the parade. I don’t think there were many (if any) KIAs from our town in Viet nam. My memories are hazy, so make of that what you will.
Every sporting event is an honor-the-troops occasion now. It didn’t matter that it was Memorial Day. It’s also a test-your-patriotism occasion. If you don’t partake in the standing ovation you’re suspect. If you roll your eyes because of the cheap lip service we give troops instead of actually weighing the value of their lives before sending them off to war, you hate the USA.
And the 10,000th kid/wife/dog surprised by a soldier coming home is as touching as the first.
And God Bless America is not the fucking national anthem! You don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) stand and put your hand over your heart. That makes me so mad! You see veterans, and likely active duty military, doing that at games. You’d think they of all people would know better.