Memorial Day 2021: What does it mean to Honor and Remember?

Memorial Day 2021:  What does it mean to Honor and Remember?

Updated and reposted from a previous Memorial Day

This Memorial Day I find my optimism for America lower than I thought possible.

Incomprehensibly, Republicans voted to block a commission to investigate the worst attack on our Capitol since the Civil War.

The repressive voting law (Senate Bill 7) that Texas Governor Abbott wants to sign sets voting rights back sixty years. No voting on Sunday before 1:00 PM? What’s the rationale for that?

Climate, COVID and truth deniers, anti-science, anti-history, anti-education, anti-Semitic, TucKKKer Carlson, Josh Hawley, Maggot Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and…

ABOUT a decade before I was born, 2,400 American men and women lost their lives in a surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, drawing America into a global conflict.

By the end of World War II that number would exceed 400,000.

Not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is a tribute to all who have served our nation, Memorial Day commemorates those who died defending American democracy.

They died defending the democratic process, something 147 Republicans voted to overturn.

Memorial Day took root during the Civil War, when local townspeople decorated soldiers’ graves.

The name Memorial Day gained popularity after World War II and was made official by Congress in 1967, then moved to the last Monday of May a year later.

Now it’s mostly a time to shop for mattresses, watch the Indy 500 and burn food on outdoor grills.

The tag line of Memorial Day is Honor and Remember.  There’s an organization by that name; you can read about it HERE.

A motorcycle rider of questionable mental capacity (let’s call him Big Joe) often berated fellow motorcyclists wearing Honor and Remember patches because it reminded him of the flag of Vietnam.

Joe is one of a growing legion of pseudo patriots who know only bumper stickers and angry slogans.

They distort the message of the Constitution and view those with different viewpoints as enemies, a concept broadly supported and encouraged on cable networks with no allegiance to truth.

Honoring and remembering is simple; a small gesture to those who sacrificed their lives for ours.

They are mostly hollow words now, like thoughts and prayers.

After one of our almost daily mass shootings, this one in a high school in Parkland, Florida in 2018, one of the students appropriately told our lawmakers where to stick their thoughts and prayers.

Part of the problem is that we don’t seem to know who to honor or what to remember.  Reverence for once cherished institutions has eroded and been replaced by a dangerous new jingoism.

In four years Donald Trump transformed and distorted this country in ways that were unimaginable before his escalator descent into national politics in 2015.

Apparently, mass hysteria is a real thing.

Today we have 600,000 dead Americans, many of whom perished because of a failed leader, a man who spent more time spray painting his face than he did trying to protect America from a deadly pandemic.

When we look back at this time, in say 10 or 20 years, will honor even be a thing anymore?  Will anyone remember those sacrifices?

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