Monuments, statues, and parades.
They are – in my mind – the way we communicate what our society holds most dear.
I hold the view that we have watered down the meaning of the word hero. I think that it should be obvious that not everyone who wears a uniform of any type is a hero.
However, I’m both the daughter of Frank R. Kern – who served in the Marines as an aerial photographer in WWII, and niece of Sigfried Schreiner – who was captured by the enemy and survived the Bataan death March.* This informs belief that those of us who enjoy the freedom of living in the U.S. have an obligation to the fallen. One of those obligations is to participate in our democracy at every level. To make sure their deaths are not in vain. To make sure that they fought for values that endure, which can only happen when we are each willing to take up the mantle of democracy, freedom, fairness and opportunity that is the true American Dream.
Another obligation is to pause and remember those who paid the ultimate price.
So, Memorial Day isn’t simply the loveliest of long weekends – and the initial bookend of summer.
We remember them – the men and women who died in service to the country we love.
Thank you, heroes.
*on Wikipedia: The march was characterized by severe physical abuse and wanton killings, and was later judged by an Allied military commission to be a Japanese war crime.