I was talking with a veteran friend of mine the other day about how frustrated she is with how people treat Memorial Day. “It’s not a day for barbecues and beaches. It’s more somber than that,” she said. The meaning behind the day is right there in its title: memorial. Remembering those who died.
Instead, the only thing we often remember is that it’s a day off of work, which means it’s an extra day to do what we want, and what we want is usually to cook out, go swimming, play frisbee. What we want surpasses everything else.
That’s a sentiment I’m seeing more often lately, not just on this Memorial Day. People want haircuts. People want to see their friends. People want to go out to eat. It doesn’t matter that there’s a pandemic we’re battling, that cases are still popping up every day, that humans are dying in droves. People don’t want to stay inside anymore, and that’s all that matters.
In the Coronavirus War, the real soldiers are those who shelter in place, who wear masks when they have to go out, who work the front lines of the hospitals. They know about sacrifice. It’s a willing sacrifice they take on not for their own good but for the good of their comrades. They recognize that sometimes every second doesn’t have to be about what they want.
And it’s those people who are fighting for our freedom now. It’s those people who are diminishing the threat of disease so that one day soon, we can go out for haircuts and dinner and parties. Their efforts now will ensure our freedom later. They realize that freedom is not free. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices.