An Essay by Howard Brown
Memorial Day is not Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day honors all of the individuals in the military who are still alive, but Memorial Day is much more than that—it honors all of those who gave their life for their nation. Every nation has a kind of Memorial Day—not every nation has a Veteran’s Day.
On this day no matter where you live, we need to put away the beer and the ribs and whatever we are cooking, we need to stop with the festive parades and the loud get togethers, we need to cease with the sales in the stores, we need to realize it is not just another holiday exempting us from work and/or school.
This is the day we bow are heads to remember everyone who has given their life to keep our nation free and great—everyone: the firemen of 9/11, the police who fell in the line of duty, the teachers who died protecting the safety of their students, the civil rights workers from the 1800’s and the decades before and during the Civil Rights Movement, the students fighting for democracy (the students murdered at Kent State, for example), the protesters who laid their lives on the line protesting against the nation’s wrongs in order to make the nation right, the soldiers and nurses and doctors, the marines and the civilians who supported them, members of the Army and the Navy and the Air Force.
During Memorial Day, take five minutes—no, make it ten to fifteen, even an hour—and find the time to pray or meditate in order to remember everyone who died trying to make this country—or any nation in the world for that matter—great. Honor the political prisoners who died trying to bring positive change, honor the individuals who put their lives on the line for the greater moral good, honor all of the people who understood they had a life to give and it was an honor to give it because their life is what helped shape this country—and many others—into the safe and free place it is today.
Memorial Day is that day—the day for firemen, police, teachers, activists, civil rights workers, nurses, all of the men and women in the armed forces and many others who gave their lives so all of us could live better. This is the day to remember them; this is the day to honor them. This is what Memorial Day means.