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I'm Bringing Y’all to Reality

As Memorial Day approached this year, I thought of it as I have in the past. A solemn day. However, the past decade has made me take even more notice of that solemnity. Even as busy as I always am. I seem to reflect more when I run further, train more, watch our children mature, hike, walk, drive, and write more. That is what had and is still the reason I’ve gained more clarity to what Memorial Day truly is.

Even as a child, I knew that Memorial Day was in Memoriam of those who served the US and gave it all. Yet, also to thank those who physically survived the traumas of serving and protecting our country. 

Then, as my obligated time in the service wound down, I faced the others who saw it as a long weekend of great eateries, balloons, carnival-like celebrations, and such. Some adults get so shit-faced, being inebriated and having the inability to do most daily functions, especially ones like driving a car. And some insisted on doing so, and thankfully, most did not harm anyone or anything other than perhaps their liver.

I remember one Memorial Day party at a friend’s home. Tons of people. Tons of alcohol. Then I wondered why a few people were acting a bit more off. I literally had one drink in about six hours. So unlike quite a few at the party, I was sharp by night fall. As well, come to find out those few had ingested narcotics. When I found that out, I looked at my husband and said, "It’s time to go." He understood. We left. He also told the homeowner, who appeared to have just realized this.

I have to say, that was such a downer. One thing to relax with friends and acknowledge the good fortune of our freedoms earned by others who didn’t even know us. Yet, were willing to write a blank check with their lives for us. Quite another thing to disrespect it. Such as looking at a day like Memorial Day as a day to get the best sales or have an excuse to destroy the very health along with the freedom someone sacrificed for you.

Even back then, nearly forty years ago, not many we knew of my and my husband’s friends had served in the military. Neither were they serving their communities. They were busy lining their pockets and nearly in complete disregard for those who died for us that then provided a three day weekend. 

Remember, it’s not about putting the flag or multiple flags out. It’s about reflection and acknowledging the good fortune brought to you by death in the line of service.---Jody-Lynn Reicher

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