A note to my American readers. This Memorial Day, it’s easier than ever to forget the death and sacrifice of military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. We must not do that.
Memorial Day Looks Different This Year of Pandemic
Usually, this day is marked by military flyovers, parades, solemn ceremonies, and gatherings meant to remember those who lost their lives in service to nation.
This year, most ceremonies have been cancelled. The President still laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, but gatherings across the country, including in my hometown, have been nixed due to COVID-19.
U.S. flags have flown at half-staff all weekend for COVID-19 victims and remain at half-staff today to mark the Memorial Day holiday. Some, like my colleague Brian at The Gate, question this policy choice. I do too.
But the point is that it’s easy to forget about what this day really means when death has become part of the daily national conversation.
Is a death from COVID-19 more worthy or less worthy than the military deaths we remember today? I think that is the wrong question to ask. Instead, even during a time of unrest and unease, we must not forget those who answered the call of duty.
This is not a veneration of war, by the way. It still make me sick to think that my grandfather–and millions of others–were asked to fight in World War I (I’ve written about that here).
But I salute all who paid the ultimate price in service to others. On this day, we particularly recognize military members who did this.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
During a time of death and collective sacrifice, it becomes difficult to think about more death. But let the sacrifice of the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces be an inspiration for us as we sacrifice in a less substantial but still meaningful way during the pandemic.