Memorial Day is Different This Year

memorial day sale flyersThis week a reporter emailed me to ask my thoughts as the spouse of a deployed servicemember on Memorial Day, and I couldn’t answer the question for a whole day. I felt ridiculous for being at a loss for words.

I sat down to write and I stared at my computer screen. I blinked. I had nothin. Yeah, me – the one who can wax eloquent about nearly anything. The one who can strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger about the intricacies of just about any weather condition, who can extemporaneously compare and contrast The Preschooler’s constant need for peanut butter with Sweet Pea’s inexplicable desire to carry around (but not look at) ten books everywhere she goes.

Perhaps it was hard because one of the first holidays that passed after Husband left for his one year mobilization to the Middle East was Veteran’s Day, and I’ll admit it was a hard one to swallow. When my newspaper arrived that Friday it was emblazoned on page after page with bright red, white, and blue sales flyers.  What in the hell was a Veteran’s day sale? Why had I never noticed how irritating this was before, when it was so clearly offensive to me, now? All I could think about was the blue star banner hanging in my hallway, and how I prayed every night that the star would never turn to gold. All I could do was skulk around my house, and clean insanely, and let my kids watch TV while I silently but violently ripped up the newspaper ads in defiance.

But this Memorial Day I didn’t feel that way. We’ve come so much farther in our pride, patriotism, and faith since we first built our own little white table six months ago. This Memorial Day, we understand that our perspective is not theirs. We understand that observing is the best honor. We understand that celebration isn’t for them – it’s for us.

So, we are celebrating. First we are attending a local ceremony at 9am put on by our American Legion. We’ve been talking about sacrifice at the dinner table, and I think the kids understand that word better this year than they ever have. They don’t understand the sacrifice Husband is making, but they understand their own. And that’s just enough understanding, for now.

But after the ceremony, we aren’t going to sulk. We aren’t going to hang around home with quiet and somber regret over the general public’s lack of understanding on the very holiday set aside to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Instead, we are going to celebrate and have some fun as a family, and take advantage of the festivities of the weekend.

Because it feels right to honor these men and women by doing what they could not, by doing what they would have most wanted to do if they were here: to spend more time with the people they loved.

Happy Memorial Day, America. Thankyou for your sacrifices.

This post can also be found at SpouseBUZZ.com, Military.com’s online military spouse community, where Volkman contributes as a featured author.

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120 Comments (+add yours?)

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  4. Barclay
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 13:21:00

    Hey excellent article , Many thanks giving this information

    Reply

  5. เสื้อผ้าเด็ก
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 22:24:39

    Thanks for sharing content to read.

    Reply

  6. thebrokendowncavalryman
    Jun 06, 2011 @ 07:26:21

    We are not a service family, at least the Australian branch isn’t, but our equivalent to Memorial Day is a day when more and more people stop and pay their respects to those who have served, who have sacrificed and who are currently serving. Shops are mostly shut but the pubs are open, which is at it should be so the focus of the day is not lost. Little danger of that, though, with the swelling crowds at each year’s Dawn Service. It is families such as yours, and the young uniformed men and women we see on ANZAC Day which are teaching my children the importance as well as the meaning of the word sacrifice. Thank you.

    Reply

  7. สายสัญญาณ,Computer Network
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 19:34:02

    Thank you for sharing content to read.

    Reply

  8. sasanews
    May 31, 2011 @ 21:07:32

    This is really good post.
    http://sasanews.wordpress.com

    Reply

  9. The Logophile
    May 31, 2011 @ 06:13:19

    Touching. You are brave and more than correct about how you decided to spend your day. You must be proud of him and I am sure he is more than proud of you. It is hard for everyone to understand the sacrifices that wives and husband’s of service-members make every day. You have written and explained it well. Thank you.

    Congrats on FP. May he be safe and return soon.

    Reply

  10. Claire
    May 31, 2011 @ 05:55:08

    Thank you for your Memorial Day blog. It touched me for a lot of reasons. My perspective on this day is at http://clairesblog.glenswx.com. I am part of a military family.

    The very best to you…
    Claire

    Reply

  11. I Made You A Mixtape
    May 31, 2011 @ 03:43:56

    veterans day is such an important day… sometimes I wish it would be marked more… y’know… other than having huge sales on in the mall…

    Reply

  12. alitelli
    May 30, 2011 @ 23:29:07

    Your blog is too long. To much scroll downs.

    Reply

    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      May 31, 2011 @ 07:06:03

      Perhaps. But I didn’t write it for bloggers to read in 30 seconds. I write here as a diary for my family, as a way of journaling and documenting my husband’s deployment. Plus, if you take the time to read, you may find it’s worth it. I hope so.

      Reply

  13. airforce united fc
    May 30, 2011 @ 22:41:29

    thanks you for your sharing.

    Reply

  14. confessionsofalymie
    May 30, 2011 @ 22:24:28

    loved this :)

    Reply

  15. nwatrud
    May 30, 2011 @ 20:42:19

    I enjoyed your post. I liked what you had to say about Memorial Day being for us, not them.

    Reply

  16. howlincowboy
    May 30, 2011 @ 20:10:39

    http://howlincowboy12.wordpress.com/

    As we honor those whom gave their live’s for our freedom of today. Keeping the candle lit in their memory. Also, thanking those still whom serve or have served for doing their job to keep us safe.

    Reply

  17. ExoCreative
    May 30, 2011 @ 20:04:49

    Great post – it’s thoughts like this that are most meaningful on a day like today. There is more ‘memorial’ in a post like this than there is in most things most people do (or did) all day today. Thanks for helping people to focus on what the meaning of the day is – you inspired nearly a 100 comments!

    Reply

  18. Jesse Pointer
    May 30, 2011 @ 17:48:46

    Giving Thanks to all who serve(d) this great nation. As a Viet Nam era, retired Air Force veteran, my thoughts and prayers are with those who are in currently in harms way. May their love ones be strong and patient until they are safely home

    Reply

  19. Scott
    May 30, 2011 @ 15:11:49

    When I began reading this, I agreed about the total inappropriateness of the commercialism on this holiday. And I still agree–advertisers take advantage of even the most solemn holidays, and it’s insensitive, to say the least. And I remember when Memorial Day, Labor Day, and other such holidays weren’t tagged to weekends, so that people could use them as occasions to get drunk. You have a good argument–that we should celebrate, because that is what our war dead are unable to do (and perhaps would want us to do). But as you say, we are clueless as to what our soldiers are going through this very day. One of my nephews is on his third tour of duty in Iraq (because of this “recycling” of soldiers), and I don’t feel like celebrating. Nor will worrying do me any good. I just feel like praying.

    Reply

    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      May 31, 2011 @ 21:28:34

      Scott, my husband is on an IA this year – he’s an Individual Augmentee. The idea behind it is to ease the burden of the recycled. I hope your nephew comes home soon and safe and sound. Praying is a good way to spend your time in any event, Memorial Day or not. I’ve done a lot of it this year.

      Reply

  20. Sweet Louise Burlesque
    May 30, 2011 @ 13:58:16

    Well said. I can relate. Veterans Day was somehow easier for me that Memorial day. My honey is currently in Afghanistan. All the chipper “Happy Memorial Day Weekend!” smiles this weekend made me cringe a little inside. The day *should be* enjoyed it was hard fought for, at the same time all the chipper smiles made me feel like somehow there was no connection to Why folks didn’t have to go into work today. Blessings to you and yours. And congrats to being inside 30 days! We’re inside 70 days now!

    Reply

  21. stainfreemedia
    May 30, 2011 @ 13:51:25

    Please allow: http://StainFreeMedia.wordpress.com
    Thank you.

    Reply

  22. Trackback: Gratitude and A Special Baptism | Jenny Hansen's Blog
  23. newsy1
    May 30, 2011 @ 10:32:31

    My son just got out of the Marines after 20 years and more deployments that I can count. I thought of him every day of course but this Memorial day I can breathe a sigh of relief that I know he is safe. Others aren’t so lucky and I try and never forget that.

    Reply

  24. the island traveler
    May 30, 2011 @ 09:17:11

    As we celebrate this day with our families, let as remember in our thoughts, prayers and celebration the men and women who can’t be with theirs because they have to defend the freedom and liberty that today we are enjoying. Your post makes us appreciate the heroic efforts of our soldiers.congratulations. A wonderful Memorial Day to all.

    Reply

  25. Big Al
    May 30, 2011 @ 05:44:41

    For someone at a loss for words your eloquence is astounding. You have put Memorial Day in a perspective that few of us ever could. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice than to live our lives with joy. Thank you for reminding us of that.

    Reply

  26. armyveteran
    May 30, 2011 @ 05:23:39

    I like what you have written. It is right on target. Thanks!

    army veteran

    Reply

  27. georgettesullins
    May 30, 2011 @ 05:19:49

    I’ll be thinking about you and your family as you wait and prepare for your husband’s anticipated return. Wonderful post! I want to come back and read as it unfolds. Thank you for your service.

    Reply

  28. Roda
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:36:59

    Hi,
    touching post.

    Reply

  29. Group/team shopping taobao agents
    May 30, 2011 @ 00:30:29

    Congrats on FP! Excellent post. For a mom who is not in a military family it was an excellent reminder to me of the importance of Memorial Day and a reminder to continue to pass this significance on to my kids. Thank you for your husband’s sacrifices and your family’s sacrifices.

    Reply

  30. momentsbydesign
    May 29, 2011 @ 23:24:06

    Thank you so much for the important reminder to be intentional in our celebrationing today. Thank you for your sacrifice as a family! Though we just cannot completely understand, we can take a day to remember and be thankful for what’s be given for our freedom, our rights. The cost has been great, but worthwhile… this is the heart of all of the day’s celebrations.

    Reply

  31. Joe Labriola
    May 29, 2011 @ 22:28:38

    There were many people setting off fireworks tonight. Don’t remember that happening so much over past memorial day weekends.

    Reply

  32. Richard Lerner
    May 29, 2011 @ 19:18:28

    Thank you for this. We all say we support our troops, but not enough to call for a general draft so that our entire democracy pays equally for the war. The fact is that most of the country can ignore the fact that there is a war going on.

    Reply

  33. Judy M Marshall
    May 29, 2011 @ 19:02:14

    I lost my husband 5 years ago it has been a hard road to say the least I took care of him until the end. The VA in Denver CO was wonderful to him. I thank God every day for them. So hang in there honey and know you are loved!

    Reply

  34. goskinnyexpert
    May 29, 2011 @ 16:57:45

    My son did 2 tours. I understand. Bless you and your family for your sacrifices.

    Reply

  35. Eduard Mamcasz
    May 29, 2011 @ 15:34:06

    I think Memorial Day is for all: black slaves, yellow viets, red cherokee, and, of course, white soldiers from South, North, East and West. That makes it a good Memorial Day for all of us. God bless U.

    Reply

  36. The Central Oregon Veteran
    May 29, 2011 @ 14:59:07

    Thanks for the great post! God Bless you and yours!

    Reply

  37. Monica DeLaCruz
    May 29, 2011 @ 13:42:02

    Congrats on FP! Excellent post. For a mom who is not in a military family it was an excellent reminder to me of the importance of Memorial Day and a reminder to continue to pass this significance on to my kids. Thank you for your husband’s sacrifices and your family’s sacrifices.

    Reply

  38. Liverpool FC
    May 29, 2011 @ 13:09:12

    Well written. Thanks..!
    Hope you husband is safe and that your family has a good weekend.
    God Bless….

    Reply

  39. gmomj
    May 29, 2011 @ 12:26:40

    Thank you for reminding us what Memorial Day is about. I hope your husband returns to you whole and safe.
    My father was a Navy man. Served in Korea.
    He paid a dear price for his service as we his whole family did. PTSD, but back then the service didn’t recognize nor take care of issues like that.
    Whole families are affected by every one trooper. We pray for every single one.

    Reply

  40. Jackie Paulson Author
    May 29, 2011 @ 10:46:16

    May you be blessed and Your hubby too. Thanks for sharing such a personal story with all of us.

    Reply

  41. Nikki
    May 29, 2011 @ 10:28:24

    What a wonderful post. The older I become, the more I realize just what this holiday means.
    My father is a veteran, as well as many of my family members. I recently found out that my great-uncle was in WWII, and landed on Omaha Beach during D-Day!

    I wish you and your family the best and hope that your husband has a safe return.

    Reply

  42. Cathy
    May 29, 2011 @ 07:31:32

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed. This is a really great article…thought provoking. I have always felt that the public needs to be doing something to remind us of the sacrifice that these noble men and women are making on our behalf. To your husband, your family and all those who serve and their families, I say “thank you” and God bless you all and bring your loved ones home safely.
    It’s good to see you have also turned the corner on how to pay tribute to our brave men and women in uniform..your kids will be the better for it.

    Reply

  43. Atul Moghe
    May 29, 2011 @ 07:16:33

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I hope your husband comes home to you safe and soon! The meaning of this holiday is not of the sales but of our troops that serve to protect us. Your writing moved me!
    Best wishes!

    Reply

  44. Harold
    May 29, 2011 @ 06:22:18

    I have had family serve, neighbors serve, friends sons and daughters serve. This holiday is as important to me as the others. Very well written! Thank you!
    Congrats on being FP!

    Reply

  45. versa kay
    May 29, 2011 @ 04:23:48

    There is a song in Hindi,”ae mere watan ki logon”, sung so soulfully by the great Indian singer LTa Mangeshkar, exhorting her countrymen to fill their eyes with a few drops of tears in honor and memory of those who staked tgeir lives in defence of their country. She is one of the greatest singers of all time in India, but she took 69 rehearsals to impart tge feelings she wished the finished song ought to convey. After she rendered the song, the then Prime minister of India, walked up to her with tears rolling down his cheeks and said, ” Child, you have made me cry.” As for me, tears roll down my cheeks everytime I happen to hear the song.
    Thanks for a great post.

    Reply

  46. Trackback: Memorial Day is Different This Year | slopestreetcats.com
  47. Mrs. O
    May 28, 2011 @ 20:15:44

    I am fortunate enough that my husband got back last Friday. (not really on schedule, silly American Airlines, but still, home)

    This Memorial Day, we are just spending it with daddy. I don’t care if all we do is cuddle in the middle of the living room and never even get out of pajamas. No big production, no big spectacle, no big shopping events (unless he wants to go shopping. Which I doubt. :) )

    It is hard to see the secular society around who has no real idea what the day means. But its the same way for many events. I wish you and yours a speedy reunion!

    Reply

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