While we observed Memorial Day on Monday (the last Monday of the month), originally, Memorial Day was observed on the 30th (from 1868 to 1970). The day is one of remembrance: honoring those who perished while on active duty.
I am lucky, and so were my ancestors (or at least the ancestors that I know of); while I have had many relatives who have served in the military, I can't recall one that died while on active duty. While my husband had an uncle who perished at the Battle of Anzio (WWII), as far as I know my ancestors survived the Revolutionary War (albeit by switching allegiances after being captured and settling in New England after the war) and the Civil War (although not living well afterwards, a result of being imprisoned in either Andersonville or Libby Prison). My grandfather was too young to serve in WWI and too old for WWII, but my father served in the reserves, my uncle (his brother) made the Army his career (retiring as a lieutenant colonel) and my father-in-law served in Vietnam. I have a lot of thanking to do and to be grateful for and I shouldn't wait until the "official" day to do so: Veteran's Day.
But back to the topic at hand, Memorial Day. Although many of us use the day to celebrate the beginning of the summer season (and why not?), we SHOULD take some time to remember those who died while serving our country. How can we HONOR those who are no longer here?
Let's think back to the reasons they were engaged in service. They fought and continue to fight to ensure our freedom. Not just the freedom of one person or group of people, but ALL. They take an oath which says: " I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Defenders of our country; defenders of our constitution, which of course famously begins with: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
So might I suggest that to honor those who have perished while defending it, we find ways to maintain the welfare of our neighbors/our country? It is simple enough and certainly honorable enough. To honor those who died in service, can't we look out and serve our fellow man? It doesn't have to be complicated! I can be as simple as carrying a bag of groceries for someone. Or maybe purchasing groceries/needed items for your local food bank. Or assisting at your local food pantry. (Maybe it's time for lunch; I seem to have good on the mind!)
On this May 30th, let's remember the men and woman who are no longer here and HONOR them by caring for our fellow (hu)man. They served; isn't it appropriate that we do the same, even in a small capacity?