Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Very rarely do I blog on my day off. With blogger's scheduled posts, however, it makes it a bit easier, I suppose.

First, I have seen many links to the following organization this Memorial Day: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

And my first thought is, "Do people know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day?" Memorial Day is to honor people who died while in military service. Formerly known as Decoration Day, a day established to decorate the graves of fallen Union soldiers (I don't think there were different branches of the military back then), the day was expanded and renamed after World War I to honor all who died while serving in the military. Time did a story on the origin of Memorial Day recently as well.

It seems to me that as Americans, we blur the lines between Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Patriot Day. Maybe even Independence Day. Who knows? Living near several military communities, I have had to learn a few things:

(1) Soldiers do not equal all people who serve in the military.
There are airmen (men and women in the Air Force), seamen (men and women sailors), marines, soldiers (those in the Army), and coasties (I don't know the real term, but they are known as coasties around here). There are two other uniformed services in the US: United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, but they are not part of the armed forces (the first 5 mentioned).

(2) Er, oh, crap, I don't know anything else.
I was going to make a list of all of these military things I have learned, and I completely lost my mind. Or at least what I was thinking about.

Also, I am not sure what to say on Memorial Day. I mean, saying "Happy Memorial Day" seems to be inappropriate. It is not solemn enough. All I can suggest is that people take time to remember those who have fallen in all US wars today.


Bunnylord said...

I think we should combine Veteran's and Memorial Days to eliminate at least one day of useless parades. Service people should get the day off, but the rest of you can keep working. Combat vets get to demand BJ's on command, or else you have to give us your day's pay.

Note - comment made from my cubicle. Thanks to the recession hype, I no longer get holidays off.

Michael said...

You're right, most people don't know the difference between the holidays. But I guess the main thing is to be thankful that people have fought and died in the service of their country.

Gary Baker said...

When I want to stir up a bit of gratitude for fallen service members on Memorial Day, I like to watch a good war movie. There is little to nothing about a parade that makes me think of soldiers. Seeing what they went through to serve our country, now that brings gratitude to mind.

Malach the Merciless said...

What's wrong with celebrating those who lived on Memorial Day?

Leesa said...

Grant: Yeah, I wouldn't mind giving up a day's pay for the family of a vet.

Michael: I guess both holidays involve grilling.

Gary Baker: Not sure I like war movies. The ones I remember as a child may not have been realistic.

Malach: Memorial Day is to remember the dead.