This weekend our nation “celebrates” Memorial Day… you know, the 3-day weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer. The weekend of baseball, barbecues and blockbuster movie debuts. The weekend of legendary mattress, car and stereo sales for those who venture out and Law & Order, and NCIS marathons for all you couch potatoes.
What seems to get lost in all of the eating, watching and shopping is the real significance of the holiday… a day of remembrance and respect for those who died in service to our country. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic; it was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971, as part of the National Holiday Act, Congress made the holiday a three-day weekend, a move the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) believes has “contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
This spring, I re-watched HBO’s excellent Band of Brothers series as the lead-up to the new series The Pacific. Though the docudrama was very compelling on its own, the video vignette interviews of the actual servicemen from World War I and World War II were moving beyond words. Even all these decades later, the pain of their experiences was evident on their faces, yet they were proud of their service of their fellow soldiers so many of whom never made the trip back home.
Those of us who have never served in the military can never begin to fathom what thousands and thousands of brave soldiers have endured—and are enduring—to protect us and our allies in conflicts. We owe these brave men and women—and their families—a debt we can never repay.
In December 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in hopes of re-educating and reminding Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day. The resolution asks that at 3:00 PM local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’” It would seem that this is the very least we can do to pay deep respect to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in freedom.
At Choclatique, we proudly support the men and women of the military—past, present and future—who defend our country. We have been very fortunate to become acquainted with many troops currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They and their families inspire us and help us put life’s little inconveniences into proper perspective.
If you find yourself compelled to watch a marathon this weekend, at least tune in to the AMC channel. Beginning at 9:00 AM, you can view 7 classic war films, including The Devil’s Brigade, The Enemy Below and To Hell and Back. But please… don’t forget to take a moment to stop and remember those who gave their lives defending ours.