Today is the observed date of Memorial Day. (Being a purist, I prefer the traditional May 30 date, but that is of little course for this discussion.)
For the past few days we’re been out of town. This was in part to “celebrate” the first weekend of summer, which seems to be how the Day is better known.
However, I’ve also taken time to help in the planting of flags on the graves of the veterans in a local cemetery, and had some discussions with my kids on the subject of Memorial Day. You see, my Dad is a member of the “Greatest Generation”. He was a member of the 9th Armored Division in World War II. From a few of the stories he told, I’m lucky to be here. He missed death by small margins more times than I think he can remember. I feel I have a pretty good grip on this “Memorial Day thing”. I feel I owe something to these veterans.
On the drive home, I noticed the lack of US flags flying on homes and businesses. I’m struck by the difference from my childhood, when just about everyone flew the flag on national holidays, and the period after 9/11, when most people flew flags.
If you’re a previous visitor here, you know I have a few issues with my government. But my Dad flys his flag at home every day, and so do I. It isn’t a thing reserved for holidays. I still have magnetic ones on my vehicles, like so many people did after 9/11. Call me a hopeless patriot or a fool if you like. I really don’t care.
For all the warts our country has, it is still the best thing going. Nowhere else in the world are people as free as they are in the United States of America. That freedom was purchased by the lives, the blood, the pain and the sacrifice of our men (and now women) in uniform. And it just pisses me off that most people can’t even bother themselves to fly the US flag on Memorial Day–whichever day they choose to observe it on–to acknowledge this simple fact.