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Pet Peeve Alert - Memorial Day versus Veteran's Day

This is as big a grain of sand in my shorts as "clip versus magazine."

This is an excerpt from the President's weekly message:


These are some of the ways we can, must, and will honor the service of our troops and the sacrifice of their families. But we must also do our part, not only as a nation, but as individuals for those Americans who are bearing the burden of wars being fought on our behalf. That can mean sending a letter or a care package to our troops overseas. It can mean volunteering at a clinic where a wounded warrior is being treated or bringing supplies to a homeless veterans center. Or it can mean something as simple as saying “thank you” to a veteran you pass on the street.

That is what Memorial Day is all about
. It is about doing all we can to repay the debt we owe to those men and women who have answered our nation’s call by fighting under its flag. It is about recognizing that we, as a people, did not get here by accident or good fortune alone. It’s about remembering the hard winter of 1776, when our fragile American experiment seemed doomed to fail; and the early battles of 1861 when a Union victory was anything but certain; and the summer of 1944, when the fate of a world rested on a perilous landing unlike any ever attempted.

It’s about remembering each and every one of those moments when our survival as a nation came down not simply to the wisdom of our leaders or the resilience of our people, but to the courage and valor of our fighting men and women. For it is only by remembering these moments that we can truly appreciate a simple lesson of American life – that what makes all we are and all we aspire to be possible are the sacrifices of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our nation’s founding.

That is the meaning of this holiday. That is a truth at the heart of our history. And that is a lesson I hope all Americans will carry with them this Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

I know I'm bucking the trend here, just like I'm a lonely fighter for the proper use of clip vice magazine (You put bullets into clips, you put clips into magazines), but I digress.

I don't object to what he's saying here.  I really don't.  And in a lot of places I go, people *do* thank me for my service, if they know I served.  And much of what the President said in his message is apt for every day, or, at least, now and then when you can.

But most of what is in that message is... Veteran's Day.  The day for the living.  Memorial Day is... set aside to remember the lives that were spent so that we could live ours, those who served and survived, but have since passed, and, of course, for our family and friends, whether they served or not.

Memorial Day is where we resurrect the pale shadows of those who have gone before - so that, in a sense, as long as they live in us, they still walk among us.

I know the President is about Hope and Change, and looking forward.  And I welcome a sustained commitment to taking care of the those who bore the battle.

But this day - this day is not about the living, except as the inheritors of what the dead bequeathed us.  That's why yesterday I posted about Russian dead from WWII, and the US unit that strives to bring everybody home, and return them to their families.

That is why today I told the story of Pappy Hays, my great-grandfather and namesake.

This holiday is about Mom.  Grandma and Pop, Mimi and Daddy Jack, Aunt Elaine and Uncle Skeet, Dick Rice, Leonard Cowherd Jr, Karl Teepe, Specialist Baldwin, Steven Hutchinson and others. 

The Auld Soldier has his list - there are some names in common, but his is longer than mine, and not just because he's older.

The same is true for Bill, and Dusty, and all the Denizens,  lurkers and passers-thru.  There are many lists of those who are here only in spirit. 

But those spirits live on because...

We remember.

26 Comments

It's reasonable what you say.  Of course over the ocean here we have not the separate days.  Perhaps people like the inclusivness of broadening the respect.  Do most Americans know this difference between the two days?


 
I know what you mean.  I'll be attending an American Legion event Monday that includes placing flags on the graves of those veterans who have passed, and later that evening, I'll be at a baseball game billed as "Military Appreciation Night".  I know in a past season, they had a pre-game ceremony placing one of those rifle, boots & helmet memorials out in centerfield (is there a proper name for that kind of memorial?).  The people who performed it were on staff with the Express, and were also veterans.  I'll give them a little slack since the season is over before Veterans' Day rolls around.  And, some good will come of this night, as Soldiers' Angels and another troop support group will be out there to connect with fans, though I don't know what - if anything - there is planned for a remembrance for those who are no longer with us.  Also, May is, after all, Military Appreciation Month.
 

Having grown up military, Argent, the days have always been pretty delineated for me.

And for a lot of people, they're just days off.

Which, in a sense, is a testimony to the success of those commemorated, and those who lead them, military and civilian.

Memorial Day grew out of "Decoration Day" which (on two separate days, initially) the people of the North and South decorated the graves of their respective war dead.  Veteran's Day grew out of the "Armistice Day" celebrations, and morphed into Veteran's Day when it became clear that The War to End War, didn't.

Veteran's Day has always had a tincture of the living and the dead, growing as it did out of the commemoration of the end of World War One.  Let's face it, when old vets get together to sit in lawn chairs with beer and brats and lie to each other about their wartime exploits and conquests, the ghosts sitting on their shoulders are always a part of the reminiscing.

As you Aussies well know (too well, perhaps, thanks to Eric Bogle) - "and their ghosts can be heard as they march there by the billabong, singing "Who'll come a-waltzing matilda with me?"

 
I'm with you John, and I'm also hard-core on the clip/magazine deal too.
 
A testimony.  Perhaps too, to the fraility of humanity.  Saturday is a day off.  Most others have their meanings.  Over here on ANZAC day it is a day off.  But not just a day off.  For if the day falls on the weekend we do not recieve the bonus day tacked to Monday or Friday.  Because the 25th is the Day that matters and the point of the day off is to have opportunity to commemorate it more flexibly.

Thanks, so now I know why our nations share one day but not the other.

Do we forget those we love and respect?  They are carried along in sorrow and fondness and made to be at home.  Living on in the hearts and minds of those that yet care.  Even when the details slip through our fingers, like the Unknown Soldier, we still remember them through the same love and respect.


 
I'm sorry, but he's an idiot.  I read the entire transcript, and that was a Veteran's Day speech, not a bit of Memorial Day in it past the second sentence.  

For a contrast from someone who actually knows what the holiday means and feels it in his soul... http://www.usa-patriotism.com/speeches/gwb_md052608.htm 
 
Come on, even the name says what it is--MEMORIAL.  In memory of something/someone PAST/PASSED.
 
For some of you, that URL may not work.  Try this one.

And, Fuzzy, he's not an idiot.  But he is a tyro at this whole "military" thing.

Let's not make this thread about him, per se.  Let's keep it focused on them, so to speak.

And you've got the right URL, Fuzzy.  But for some people it isn't working, possibly because it's breaking.
 
FbL is it just me or has your suggested speech been mislinked?
 
And, Fuzzy - it's not just him.  It's a lot of people, many for whom... it's just a day off.
 
Yes, but he's the president!!

And yes, I shouldn't make it about him.  I'm in a very foul mood this morning, and he was a good target.  :P
 
At least he didn't wish anyone a "happy" Memorial Day. That one about sends me over the edge.

I'm heading out to make more leis to put on the graves at Punchbowl. For Memorial Day. To honor those that have given their lives for this country.
 
I'm so very with you on the clip vs magazine thing. When I'm not being a sloppy bastige, I'm there on the rifle vs gun thing too.

The thing about this speech that should be remembered by them of us what are giving it the evil eye is that, this speech was written by committee, passed before a focus group, tested, practiced and... well... ignorance an non-comprehension along the entire line.

Keep punching. The Romans had their Triarii, we've got the old timers. Keepers of the Faith and Guardians of the Way.

In issues such as this:
5th General Order
Semper Fi.
 
There are no easy answers, but let's try to find some possible ideas. As I understand it, Ladybug was quite accurate, when she says, "May is 'Military Appreciation Month', including Memorial Day. This just adds confusion in the context of this discussion. Let's first look at the two days. Both of them focus on the past, this can be troublesome for many. I live in my family's home and own it, bought it from the estate, then did a rehab on it. There has always been a sense of connection to the past. Dad always had a sense of the past, in context. In the last days of his life, I explained to my Father, "You and Mom raised two young men with a respect for technology and history in context. Everything I did was an extension of you." My brother walked in and said, "You're wrong, it's *not* everything you did, but everything *we*  did was an extension of both You (Dad) and Mom." The next day my Father died. This happened more than 25 years ago, Mom died more than 30 years ago. Let's look at their legacy, they had four children and all had jobs in National Security and many of their children and grandchildren were involved in National Security. I figure that's not a bad legacy. One family rule, *no shop talk!* Don't forget, they took their hands *off*, many can not pass this test.

No, they were not Military or Veterans, but they should be remembered. I am not asking you to remember them, that's the family's responsibility. This is an inclusive table. This is where we also see those who lost their lives in the Military in a sacrifice for this Nation.
 
*CORRECTION!* In the last section, it appears as if the "Fallen Military and Veterans" were an afterthought. Quite to the contrary, They're the regulars at the table, they are in my thinking year round, just a little extra on those two days.

About Dad, he went to enlist in the Military and they refused him, without an explanation. He felt that he failed his Country. The thing of it was this, in his view, there was no "Reasons and Basis" for the decision. Please understand, this all happened before I was born, he told me when I was about 35 years old. I discreetly called my siblings from another house and we had a conference call on how to solve the issue. Everybody and I agreed to fix it. I made a few calls and connected with the right people. I gave the needed information and they sent a copy of the original "Reasons and Basis Letter", 45 years old with a cover letter apology. They sent it "standard first class mail" and a second copy by  "certified mail with return receipt required signed by the addressee." The letters came on the same day, the receipt was on top. He was out and just got back, I gave him the receipt, he went to the Post Office to sign for it. A copy of the original "Reason and Basis Letter", with the original date stamp explained everything, especially, contrary to what he thinks, "He is *not* a failure to his Country." Here was a man who had all of his cats in formation and was ready to march them out. To understand my Dad, you should have read a sign at the old Bell Labs, it read, "Here at Bell Labs, miracles happen everyday, the impossible just might take a little longer."
 
I definitely know the difference.

I'm damned if I'm gonna miss an opportunity to thank you  for your service, just because it's memorial day and not veterans day.

My remembrance of memorial day is predominantly silent prayer and inward reflection. Saying thanks- where I can- as an external reminder to myself and them, is alsoa good thing, in my book.

But yes, I do get that some don't get it.

 
Going to go to the cemetery at Quantico.  I want to put some flowers on Col.Rich Higgins' grave.
 
Last I checked, Og, you weren't the President, either... 

Heh.  *That* would be fun to watch....
 
For my father, the companion pet peeve to this (and it drives him crazy) was boat vs. ship, lol.

Believe me I grew up knowing the difference on both counts!
 
I don't know about you, but I put ROUNDS into either a clip or a magazine.

And Memorial Day vs. Veteran's Day is a huge pet peeve of mine. I appreciate the sentiment, but please, don't thank me on Monday. That isn't my day. I've got 364 days of the year to bask in the love of my fellow citizens. Let's leave the fallen with their own day.

As to the President's speech, the inability to separate the two issues is astonishing. You'd think there would be SOMEONE in the speechwriting proccess who would understand the significance of Memorial Day. 
 

Semper Fi Wife:

I never served with Col Higgins. His capture happened a few years after I left the Corps. I did hear about it and what happened to him during his capture, and how that ended, is one of the reasons I'll hold hatred in my heart for all those associated with islamism until the day I die.

Savages should be dealt with by utmost savagery. They've sowed that wind for generations.
 
Semper Fi, ma'am.

 
Maybe the President knows something you don't? That is, regarding his "Veteran's Day" language. 
 
Joe, rest assured, I would have said this of *any* President.

As for "knowing something you don't"  - good golly I would hope so.  Heh. Not that it was true when it came to things military prior to the election. Much of what Mr. Obama has done regarding war and the military follows the pattern I said it probably would - once he started getting the *classified* briefings, unless he was an idiot his actions would not match his pre-election rhethoric, even if his rhetoric might change.  I've not seen anything to indicate President Obama is an idiot.

I don't care if he knew *exactly* what he was saying - it's Memorial Day, not Veteran's Day.

If anything else, your comment implies a politicization of the day, which to me -  a veteran... would be *worse.*
 
John,

I know exactly what you are saying about the "misunderstanding" about this holiday.  If you pop on over to The Thunder Run, Robert Stokelyhas some words to say that are in line with your line of thought.

As do I of course.

David M
Editor: The Thunder Run
Denizene of Castle Argghhh!
 
Grimmy,
I never met Col. Higgins.  After his capture and death but before his body was given back, his wife asked to speak to the wives at Quantico.
 Major Robin Higgins was blunt.  "If you don't think you can handle what I've been through, you need to go home and have a very frank conversation with your husband.  What they do is dangerous."
I have always admired her for doing that and the strength she showed throughout what happened.
I will tell him "Semper Fi" for you.



 
"Heh. *That* would be fun to watch.... "

There would certainly be some changes.

And today, on this day, I'd like to say, thanks for your service. And I'd like to remember my cousin who went to Nam and didn't return. My uncle who crawled up omaha beach and lived, and was wounded in france on his 21st birthday, and came home to be a role model to me and many others, and died of his wounds at 78.  I suspect a lot of people will understand what I mean by that.

In 1984 I walked among the stones at Arlington, and wept. Each year since then, I remember the feel of the cool stones beneath my palm, and thank them for my freedom.  And I try very hard not to have to have a special day to remember them.