lately has become a day on which I hide out and stay home. Especially in the U.S. where the holiday has become just one more in a long line succumbing to commercialization by retailers looking for one more opportunity to peddle their wares. I understand wanting to make a living. I even understand merchandising. What I really do not appreciate is the taking of anything solemn or of significance and turning it into a circus.
It certainly happens in the U.S. with religious holidays. Especially the two major Christian ones. I don’t care about social holidays (Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day?) -those are just ripe for commercialization. But Memorial Day? Veteran’s Day? Those should command at least a modicum of respect. Memorial Day should impact everyone.
Veteran’s Day? It has become an excuse for anyone who knows someone with prior service to say “thank you for your service” and bop on with their lives. Perhaps the day garners more respect in Europe. I think there is a huge difference between sending family off to fight in foreign lands and having those battles range through your own country, city, town and farm. It is easier to understand when it is personal, when your parents, or grandparents lived through the war, even when they absolutely never talk about it.
Take that minute at 11 after 11 today. Armistice Day and be glad that you are not currently living in a war zone. That the battles you are fightings aren’t house to house, tree to tree. That there are not mass graves under your feet. That your family is safe. That you, unlike many in the past, have choices.