We need to respect and remember
I had the honor of attending the presentation of a new wayside exhibit in Harpers Ferry on Friday. The exhibit was made possible by the hard work of members of the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans Association, among others. In addition, I celebrated Memorial Day with several of those same veterans at their annual parade and ceremony at Harpers Ferry Middle School. I followed that by attending the annual ceremony at Edge Hill Cemetery in Charles Town.
I say all that, to say this: I was saddened by the lack of attention given to these veterans and speakers at the two ceremonies on Memorial Day. We need to teach our children that these men and women have given their all for us. We need to honor the memories of those who have gone before and we need to say thank you every day to those still here with us.
There were children and adults alike who kept talking like nothing was going on when the National Anthem was played. They did the same during ‘Taps.’ They paid not one bit of attention to the words of the speakers, both of whom shared moving words with regard to why we were there.
We were not off Monday to hit a big sale at Wal-Mart. We did not gather at these ceremonies simply because we had to play in the band or pick up our child. Or rather, that’s not why we should have attended.
This day should be honored and respected rather than seen as the day the pools open or the day summer begins. The men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms can never be repaid. Shame on us as a society for letting the day become about ourselves and what we can enjoy or what we can buy at a bargain. Shame on us for not instilling in our children a respect for our military and a thankfulness to those who have and those who continue to serve on our behalf. We have become a nation of spoiled brats who don’t recognize the sacrifices made by others for us. We encourage our children to become worse than ourselves in a “me” generation when what we need to do is learn a lesson in honor and service from these military veterans.
And it doesn’t need to just be on Memorial Day. Thank a veteran every day. Recognize that all we have would not be possible without the gift of service given by the military of the past. Take the focus off yourself and put it where it should be, if only for a brief moment.