“They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
”Ode of Remembrance” from “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon
I want to preface my post by saying this is only my opinion, as other Veterans may feel differently and I do not speak for them. However, I am confident in my assertion you will find that some Veterans in your own life agree with my thoughts.
Memorial Day is coming up. We all know this! We can’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing posts and articles and pictures.
For those who don’t know, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was adopted after the Civil War as a day to decorate graves of those who died during that war. It eventually morphed into its current form and is now a federal holiday, as well as the unofficial "start" of the summer season.
I am a Veteran. My time in the military shaped my life profoundly and I value the experience. However, please do not thank me for my service on Memorial Day. That’s not what this day is about.
Memorial Day, even in it's earliest form, has always been a day of remembrance.
And “remembrance” is the point that needs to be emphasized here.
As Memorial Day is a day to remember and thank those who died for their country while serving in the military, I do not want to be thanked for my own service.
It is not my day. It is not a day for those who survived. Those of us who survived have our own day, and I appreciate it. I enjoy spending that day with other Veterans, who understand how the military affects our lives even after we've left service.
This day, Memorial Day, belongs to those who died. To our friends and brothers and sisters in arms who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. To those who did not come home, or came home in a flag-draped coffin.
Remember that those service members who died knew it was a possibility when they signed up, and did it anyway. Remember that they had families who loved them, who mourn them, and who wish every day they were safe, and home.
Do not thank me for my service this weekend. Thank the soldiers my unit said goodbye to at over twenty memorial services during the deployment. Thank the service members who gave up their lives for this country. Thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
But do not thank me. I don’t want it and I won’t accept it on this day.
It’s not my day.
It belongs to those who are gone. The ones we miss and mourn. The ones who sacrificed their lives.
Thank them. Remember them.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.