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A few holiday weekend must-do items: barbecue something that once had a face, drink a few oat sodas, play with the kids, take a dip in the pool, watch a good war movie, avoid that annoying relative(s) . . . and thank a vet. Even if you have to look in the mirror to do it.

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  1. As a point, Memorial Day is about the fallen. Veterans Day is about all Veterans, living and not.

    • Was going to say the same. Lets not forget what Memorial Day is about…those that have their lives so we may have our freedom. Also nothing really “happy” about Memorial Day.

  2. I would reverse the order – thank a vet first BEFORE you enjoy all of those liberties.

  3. I’m a confused Canadian. Help me out.

    Here we have Remembrance Day, November 11th, same day as your Veteran’s Day. It’s considered a very solemn thing – businesses close (or should), people attend respectful ceremonies, the Last Post is played. Companies that have “Remembrance Day Sales” are frowned upon.

    I’m seeing Memorial Day as a more festive thing, and a decidedly more commercial enterprise. So what gives? Have got it wrong? I’m not looking for a fight here – I just want to understand.



    • Dan,

      Our Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the American south after the Civil War to remember the fallen. It was eventually adopted nationwide as Memorial Day. November 11th came after WWI and we name it “Veterans Day” for all the veterans living and dead.

      An accident of the calendar and season means that this holiday weekend marks the start of summer outdoor fun and thus becomes a celebration rather than any sort of solemn remembrance that it was meant to be.

      • Armistice Day; Veterans’ Day came later – once the “war to end all wars” was shown to have not done so.

      • By the way, “summer fun” in my neck o’ the woods is taking place in the tornado cellar just now, but at least I’m free to shoot it should one actually form and wander my way.


        • I was trying to keep it short rather than go into the protracted and book length history lesson. I should have placed my second paragraph first though. The point is that the current day on the calendar makes for a great date for fun in the sun and tends to upstage the solemn remembrance that was intended… unless you are in a tornado shelter. Stay safe and let it blow over.

    • 100% correct, Dan — There’s nothing to celebrate about today. This ‘holiday’ is supposed to be in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, yet we, as American’s, just can’t seem to let an opportunity to spend slip us by.

      For those who want to thank a vet today, head over to the local cemetery and pay your respects to one who can’t shuffle their feet and look embarrassed..

      • I served for thirteen years and saw a successful end to The Cold War and Desert Storm during my time on active duty. I never had the misfortune of being killed in combat so Memorial Day is not for me. However, I believe that celebrating freedom is a tribute to the fallen that they did not die in vain. Other veterans’ posts I have seen elsewhere consistently said they didn’t want memorials built, they wanted The Constitution of The United States defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Domestic enemies abound and the best possible tribute to those who lost their lives fighting tyranny overseas would be to fight tyranny inside this country. TTAG readers tend to let those in the District of Corruption know that attacking The Bill of Rights is not acceptable. Keep at it!

      • Respectfully, I cannot disagree more.

        There is much to celebrate today. The strength of the military family, for one.

        I had the unreal honor of spending this weekend with the families of the men we lost last year in Afghanistan. Their strength, courage, and unwavering support of their loved ones’ memory and their living comrades is so mindblowing I have yet to find a way to put it into words.

        Aside from a few solemn speeches, this weekend was absolutely a celebration of the memory of those soldiers, of the American Fighting Man’s Spirit, and the families that allow these men to do extraordinary things.

        While Memorial Day is indeed intended to honor the memory of those injured and last, the impact of those soldiers is impressed upon their families and every man they served with.

        Thank a soldier today. Because today such an act carries extra weight for us. For those that have seen brothers fall, it is a reminder that our service should always honor their sacrifice. For those who have not had the honor of serving in combat yet, those words should motivate them to serve with such honor and distinction that they someday live up to the high bar that has been set for them.

        Instead of arguing like children over the true meaning of the holiday, do something meaningful. Make a contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project, or Homes for Heroes. Sign up to adopt a soldier deployed overseas. Tell your children stories of the valor of brave men such as SFC Petry, who caught a live grenade and threw it back, losing his arm in the process, and returning to deploy to Afghanistan again. And if in your travels, you see a slick sleeve private lost in the Atlanta airport, Thank them for their service and remind them to mind the men who wore that uniform before them. If they shuffle awkwardly, it is because your words actually meant something to them. I can tell you I wanted nothing more than to be able to receive such words and deserve them. And now when I hear them, I can say Thank You with a smile.

        Memorial Day may be for the lost, but it still means volumes to those left behind.

        Follow Me.

        • I was with you until you got to “Wounded Warrior Project”. They are very much on record as non-gun friendly. It’s like coming here on TTAG and promoting MAIG. I’m all for promoting other organizations who support both the veterans AND the rights we defend.

        • Agreed with scottlac, on the WWP point.

          It’s hard to “argue” against your position, without seeming like a heartless jerk, but I’m going to anyway. It upsets me when I see people thanking me for my service or making FB posts or articles about “Thanking a Veteran today”. The day is about honoring the fallen. The living have other days and I don’t mind getting thanked on those days. What bothers me is that most people blindly or ignorantly think today is about living Veterans. Sure, there are buddies/friends/family/brothers that I’ve lost and that memory weighs deep. But, I don’t want to be thanked today, I want those names remembered. Those are the true heroes.

          Semper Fi

        • Well Scott, WWP does incredible things for the guys who leave country with injuries and lost limbs, and I will still support them for that. They are actually not a great charity to give to because of the percentage that actually goes to the troops, but its a big name charity that affects the life of every single wounded veteran today. They can do better, but they still do a great thing. I would hardly consider them equitable to MAIG.

          It’s Memorial Day. Being Pro Gun or Anti Gun shouldn’t have anything to do with remembering our lost and wounded. Giving 25 bucks to WWP is much better than just posting “Thanks to All Veterans” on your facebook page. Charlie nailed at that part. Ignorance is repulsive.

        • User3369, through my experience with WWP I’m just not that impressed. My guys that got hit basicly got a T-Shirt to provide more advertising for WWP. The teeth-to-tail ratio of that charity isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it’s a big name charity and with all the donations it buys more ads to make the name bigger.

          Just don’t bring “tainted” funds from a shooting-sports event because then they don’t want your dirty money.

          Yes, I have cause to be bitter with WWP, and it’s from first hand experience with them not ignorance.

    • You’ve got it right. It’s been taken over by consumerism. People think it’s a day to celebrate a day off, instead of what it is supposed to be. It’s a free country though, and people can spend it how they wish.

      • Just looking for a response to comment I could agree with on… yeah it’s just another Hallmark holiday. Who-ho, celebrate the vets, go get a special on furniture and have Monday off. If you have any snap, take Friday off and call it a four-day weekend. Did my service in subs during the Cold War and as my old Master Chief puts it the Clod War got pretty hot! (Master Chief Torpedomen can’t spell worth a shyt!) Ahhh… if anyone gave a shyt the VA wouldn’t be what it is…. there is no such thing as a service-related disability – according to the Houston VA you had to be crazy to volunteer in the first place!

    • Memorial Day has in large part morphed into “Beginning of Summer Day”. I would be surprised if more than one in twenty Americans do anything today other than shop and BBQ.

      Rather sad, really.

      • I’ve noticed that just about all of our “holidays” here have morphed into an excuse for people to be lazy and get drunk. Not that I am personally opposed to either of said activities, but it would be nice if people took a moment to think about why we observe Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and all the rest.

  4. Thank you, TTAG. Enjoy your days off – I’m off to hit the road (after I finish this coffee.)

  5. Saying, “Happy Memorial Day” is the same thing as saying “Happy Funeral Day”. There is nothing “Happy” about it. By all means, eat your BBQ, but let’s not make this about watching unrealistic war movies created by Hollywood. Or do make it about those things, you have the right to spend this day anyway you choose, due in part to the sacrifices of men and women on the battlefield.

    • Yes, there is.

      I honor the fallen by celebrating life and liberty. It is a time of solemn remembrance – the Arizona, f’rinstance – but also as much a time of gratitude as anything can be.

      I thank my departed forebears – both related and otherwise – and honor them in how I live.

      Think of celebrating Memorial Day in the same vein as a Wake – much subdued, in my case. There is no disrespect, so long as you remember and honor the fallen.

      • +1 I started the day thanking my good friend and WWII vet, and now I’m about to enjoy my freedom – with deepest respect to those who gave all – with the ones that gave some!

  6. In Flanders Fields
    By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
    Canadian Army

    In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

  7. The term “Happy Memorial Day” has always gotten under my skin. Revere, respect, and remember our fallen. There is nothing “happy” about it.

    I may be disgusted with the role our military has morphed into, but I respect the men and women that choose to do what they believe to be right.

    • When you say “thank you for your service” you are within a moment of getting your windpipe ripped out. “Welcome home” is ok from Nam to OIF but you had better have a DD214 if you say it.

    • “These soldiers were there for a reason; like the Americans who fought for the Union in our Civil War, they were fighting for a cause that was bigger than they were, that was worthy of the sacrifice they made.”

      This passage hits a nerve for me. Saying that the Confederacy fighting for state’s rights was any less noteworthy than the Union’s cause is a terrible injustice. History is written by the winners. A look at both sides of that struggle will show that both sides had valid grievances. People that ignore that fact really get under my skin.

      • You’re quite right of course that the Confederacy had some valid reasons for their actions from a limited state’s rights perspective. I don’t think that Mead was diminishing the Confederacy as much as he was highlighting the cause of the Union.

        But in regards to the Confederacy and their cause, can we all at least agree that slavery of any kind is an inhuman abomination that should never be allowed or tolerated for any reason?

        • I agree on the slavery front. The point that is ignored in history texts is slavery was on the way out for the most part. The unfair taxation, policies pushed on the agrarian culture from the industrial north, and other issues is what really lead the charge to secede.

      • Of course that dreadful conflict was as much about westward expansion (and which side would control it) as anything else.

      • Sorry, enough of this neo-Confederate revisionism. The South left the Union because they their candidate lost the 1860 election. Lincoln didn’t campaign to end slavery immediately. He wanted to prevent its extension and let Demographics take its course. The slave states saw the handwriting on the wall and knew slavery would eventually be abolished by Constitutional measures. They took their bat and ball and went home.

        Those who argue that the Civil War changed the nature of government don’t know what they are talking about. The relationship between the States and Federal Government was same in 1876 as it was in 1856. Witness the implementation of Jim Crow laws. The Federal Government did nothing about it until the 1960s. The relationship between the States and the Federal Government changed because of the 17th Amendment turning the States’ representative in Washington, i.e, the Senators, into super representatives thereby disenfranchising the states in the original federal system.

        The Civil War was first, last and always about slavery.

  8. To those reading who have lost a family member, friend or loved one to service defending this great country…My family thanks you for their sacrifice.

    To those reading this who have or are now defending this great country…My family thanks you for your service.

    A safe and happy Memorial Day, to all…

  9. “Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France”

    (To have been read before the statue of Lafayette and Washington in Paris, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1916.)


    Ay, it is fitting on this holiday,
    Commemorative of our soldier dead,
    When—with sweet flowers of our New England May
    Hiding the lichened stones by fifty years made gray —
    Their graves in every town are garlanded,
    That pious tribute should be given too
    To our intrepid few
    Obscurely fallen here beyond the seas.
    Those to preserve their country’s greatness died;
    But by the death of these
    Something that we can look upon with pride
    Has been achieved, nor wholly unreplied
    Can sneerers triumph in the charge they make
    That from a war where Freedom was at stake
    America withheld and, daunted, stood aside.

    Be they remembered here with each reviving spring,
    Not only that in May, when life is loveliest,
    Around Neuville-Saint-Vaast and the disputed crest
    Of Vimy, they, superb, unfaltering,
    In that fine onslaught that no fire could halt,
    Parted impetuous to their first assault;
    But that they brought fresh hearts and springlike too
    To that high mission, and ’tis meet to strew
    With twigs of lilac and spring’s earliest rose
    The cenotaph of those
    Who in the cause that history most endears
    Fell in the sunny morn and flower of their young years.

    Yet sought they neither recompense nor praise,
    Nor to be mentioned in another breath
    Than their blue coated comrades whose great days
    It was their pride to share—ay, share even to the death!
    Nay, rather, France, to you they rendered thanks
    (Seeing they came for honor, not for gain),
    Who, opening to them your glorious ranks,
    Gave them that grand occasion to excel,
    That chance to live the life most free from stain
    And that rare privilege of dying well.

    O friends! I know not since that war began
    From which no people nobly stands aloof
    If in all moments we have given proof
    Of virtues that were thought American.
    I know not if in all things done and said
    All has been well and good,
    Or if each one of us can hold his head
    As proudly as he should,
    Or, from the pattern of those mighty dead
    Whose shades our country venerates to-day,
    If we’ve not somewhat fallen and somewhat gone astray.
    But you to whom our land’s good name is dear,
    If there be any here
    Who wonder if her manhood be decreased,
    Relaxed its sinews and its blood less red
    Than that at Shiloh and Antietam shed,
    Be proud of these, have joy in this at least,
    And cry: “Now heaven be praised
    That in that hour that most imperilled her,
    Menaced her liberty who foremost raised
    Europe’s bright flag of freedom, some there were
    Who, not unmindful of the antique debt,
    Came back the generous path of Lafayette;
    And when of a most formidable foe
    She checked each onset, arduous to stem —
    Foiled and frustrated them —
    On those red fields where blow with furious blow
    Was countered, whether the gigantic fray
    Rolled by the Meuse or at the Bois Sabot,
    Accents of ours were in the fierce melee;
    And on those furthest rims of hallowed ground
    Where the forlorn, the gallant charge expires,
    When the slain bugler has long ceased to sound,
    And on the tangled wires
    The last wild rally staggers, crumbles, stops,
    Withered beneath the shrapnel’s iron showers: —
    Now heaven be thanked, we gave a few brave drops;
    Now heaven be thanked, a few brave drops were ours.”

    There, holding still, in frozen steadfastness,
    Their bayonets toward the beckoning frontiers,
    They lie—our comrades—lie among their peers,
    Clad in the glory of fallen warriors,
    Grim clusters under thorny trellises,
    Dry, furthest foam upon disastrous shores,
    Leaves that made last year beautiful, still strewn
    Even as they fell, unchanged, beneath the changing moon;
    And earth in her divine indifference
    Rolls on, and many paltry things and mean
    Prate to be heard and caper to be seen.
    But they are silent, calm; their eloquence
    Is that incomparable attitude;
    No human presences their witness are,
    But summer clouds and sunset crimson-hued,
    And showers and night winds and the northern star.
    Nay, even our salutations seem profane,
    Opposed to their Elysian quietude;
    Our salutations calling from afar,
    From our ignobler plane
    And undistinction of our lesser parts:
    Hail, brothers, and farewell; you are twice blest, brave hearts.
    Double your glory is who perished thus,
    For you have died for France and vindicated us.

    -Alan Seeger, American
    French Foreign Legion

    Those who served, Understand
    Those who serve, Understand
    Those who will serve, will Understand
    Servicemen and women who have given their limbs and lives WE thank you for your sacrifice, WE pray for your courage and strength of will and hope some day will come when such is needed no more.

  11. As a former Marine, I would like to thank all of those brave men and women who served before me. Freedom isn’t free and thanks to all of you I have more freedom than most people will ever have.

  12. I lost friends in Nam — that was my war. I think of them from time to time, but I don’t think of them as dead. I’d rather remember them as boys, as they were when I knew them.

    There was one guy who was special. An affable, happy-go-lucky, tow-headed country boy. I always think of him on the anniversary of his death. It was Halloween, 1967, and I still hate that “holiday.”

  13. As long as we’re sharing poems:

    Dusty old helmet, rusty old gun,
    They sit in the corner and wait –
    Two souvenirs of the Second World War
    That have withstood the time, and the hate.

    Mute witness to a time of much trouble.
    Where kill or be killed was the law –
    Were these implements used with high honor?
    What was the glory they saw?

    Many times I’ve wanted to ask them –
    And now that we’re here all alone,
    Relics all three of a long ago war –
    Where has freedom gone?

    Freedom flies in your heart like an eagle.
    Let it soar with the winds high above
    Among the spirits of soldiers now sleeping,
    Guard it with care and with love.

    I salute my old friends in the corner,
    I agree with all they have said –
    And if the moment of truth comes tomorrow,
    I’ll be free, or By God, I’ll be dead!

    — Audie Murphy

    Yes, that Audie Murphy.

  14. Memorial Day: What make me sick to my stomach is today we honor those who DIED to preserve the rights the Democrats in the NJ Legislature SPIT ON! Here is a new article that gives the full story of our little adventures in Trenton…

    And since we’re sharing poems:

    Speak Up for America

    We’ll take back American, into our own hands.
    And make her again, the freest of lands.

    We’ll not sleep again or shirk our sworn duty,
    What’s at stake is our country, in all of her beauty.

    To vote is to speak, and silence a sin.
    Tell all who you know, we MUST VOTE to win!

    Speak up for America. Strike up the bands.
    And make her again, the freest of lands.

    We are responsible for our own ills,
    We’ve not paid attention, or exerted our wills.

    While we were sleeping, our freedoms declined.
    The thieves in the night stole all they could find.

    Speak up for America. Strike up the bands.
    And make her again, the freest of lands.

    The Lord is our Sheppard, to Him we do pray,
    That we’ll stand united and never be swayed.

    Freedom needs warriors, to protect and defend.
    Each citizen’s sword; their vote and their pen.

    Speak up for America. Strike up the bands.
    And make her again, the freest of lands.

    By: Nora Craig

    • @Nora Craig, you got more applause at the 4/30 hearing than Obama did at his State of the Union address. Lady, you totally kicked @ss!

  15. We have so much to be thankful for, so many sacrifices made on our behalf, and today is a great day to remember and honor those. I have always been fascinated that so many people fought for this country that were otherwise denied its benefits: black men, Japanese Americans, Native Americans…

    Their sacrifices and FAITH on behalf of a country that refused to accept them strikes me as great evidence that the mere idea of freedom is worth defending, even when the defenders of it are not themselves all that free.

    I began this day the way I begin every Memorial Day – re-reading the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (it’s on wikipedia – look it up). Of course I’m an old softy and am certainly overly sentimental. But I’m comfortable with that.

    • And the original “Black Panthers” of 761st Tank Battalion. Their motto was “come out fighting” — and they did.

  16. A day of reflection and memories. I’ve had marriages, kids and grandkids since my youth in the military. But some of my buddies ended their stories at 18 and 19. Brings a tear to my eye to think of what I have that they’ll never know.

  17. I can honestly say I’ve never uttered the phrase, “happy Memorial Day.” it’s not about that.

    But getting back to those “oat sodas”? Have I been doing it wrong, all these years?

    Alas, mine are made from BARLEY!

  18. Once we were Eagles, we flew on high.
    Once we served, and fought and died.
    Once we stood, as warriors stand.
    Once we were Eagles, above the land.

    We donned our uniforms, and placed upon,
    our strong young bodies, the mantles of war.
    We sallied forth upon the winds, wings out-
    stretched with talons sharp.

    We served ourselves, and our comrades
    dear. We were led into battles where
    men bled and died. We were young
    oh so young. But we quickly aged.

    Once we were Eagles, we soared
    towards the sun. Once we were
    Eagles whom no man would cross
    Once we strode straight and proud.

    We who have survived, now live
    with time. We search our hearts
    our souls, and fear to tell those
    we love of our feats.

    Once we were Eagles, that
    much can be said.

    ME MP 504

  19. If you make it through that dark and bitter night.
    Dark and bitter night torn by the quick light.
    If you come through that dark and bitter night to see that first gray light.
    You will think, “What a beautiful day. A beautiful day in a terrible way.”

  20. IS THE PICTURED ‘MEMORIAL’ A MINIATURE OR FULL SIZE? [I used all caps to draw attention to this post]

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