It is so easy to forget why we celebrate Memorial Day. And I am embarrassed to admit that when asked by my friend Jimmy, as we were driving past the California coast to enjoy this holiday, What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?. Neither of knew the precise definition.
Today we pause and remember those who have died for our country. The words slip out easily for me. I know no one in the military serving our country. I have no relation or daily reminders to people who have died, or know mothers who have lost sons or daughters in the current war. My grandfather was a medic in WWII. I have stories. But no current connections. Guilt creeps up on me on days like this. We have so much. And men and women risk their lives for me. Yes, me.
We live a bucolic sheltered life from war in the United States. September 11th recharged the American spirit from the tragedy of that day. I remember it well. Since then, we have become a nation where news of death in the middle east is relegated to the back page of a newspaper. Memorial Day has become synonymous with a sale at Nordstroms or taking the day off from work. Wouldn’t be great if all the sales from everywhere donated a portion to fallen soldiers families? How amazing would that be?
For my small contribution-I am writing a letter to the parents of a fallen solider. With an average of 22 suicides of veterans a day in America I feel that I can do something to say thank you. I am not sure what I am going to write exactly- Thank you is foremost. My cynical side of me feels that this is just a drop in the pan – I feel guilty about the life I lead .. But then I don’t.. Should I tell them how I have seen women with a rich life, healthy children actually get mad when their wallpaper for their walk in closet is delayed? I watch people actually cut others off at my Whole Foods parking lot to get a spot and flip the bird rushing to inject themselves with the wheat grass juice. We live a charmed life and much of is not appreciated and I am to blame on this level as well. Today is great reminder for me to not sweat the small stuff. Today I remember that life is short and war is real and mothers, fathers and brothers and sisters. A women, just like me, with young children is getting news today that their soul mate is gone. I am grateful for all the soldiers that have died for me, Americans and everyone all around this tiny planet. I hope they have happiness and love and sunshine wherever they are.
The photo below is of Liam and Theo. Liam was killed by the Taliban and his best friend and dog ,Theo, died shortly afterwards. This photo struck a cord with me because it made me see the reality of war, humanity and love all wrapped up into one photo. I hope everyone enjoys the day, smells the roses and look at the stars tonight as if they only come out once a year!