BAYHAM: The Other Thanksgiving Day

It’s unfortunate Memorial Day falls at the end of May.

Due to being a holiday at that point of the calendar, it’s become an unofficial kickoff to summer vacation season, and as a consequence, losing some of its solemnity.

After all who packs a swimsuit on the way to a graveyard.

Memorial Day honors those who didn’t just serve our nation in uniform, but also died while wearing it overseas.

These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for America and the liberties that are essential to our country.

Here is a day that should be considered universally just as sacred as Thanksgiving or as special as Independence Day.

And it out to be a day for learning of the struggles that defined our nation since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord 258 years ago.

This is especially critical for our young people, a generation that through a barrage of messaging via academic, media, and popular cultural indoctrination is the most jaded about our country and its founding fathers and the ideals they championed.

Falling at the end of the school year when new material is not covered and examinations commence, this limiting opportunities for students to visit our national military cemeteries and learn about the men who stormed and died on the beaches of Normandy, fought through the dense jungles of Guadalcanal,  and heroically battled to repel the the Red Chinese human waves on the Korean peninsula.

The subject matter largely goes untaught and the valor of our martyred servicemen goes unappreciated.

That content vacuum of American selfless sacrifice has become filled by an abundance of indictments of the generations that preceded the youth, who are taught that the virtue of today’s grievance generations is far greater than those who saved the world from tyranny and genocide because they collectively did not do enough to advance a more progressive society at home.

That the men who literally risked (and in many cases lost) their lives destroying actual fascism are somehow lesser citizens than ANTIFA vandals.

And any unearthed documented instance of that once- esteemed figure following or endorsing the prevailing “old think” of that society merits a court-martial tral in absentia convened by self-appointed tribunals comprised of the university tenured, social media influencers, vain celebrities seeking gravitas, and social justice activists.

If deceased, those found guilty shan’t be exempted from pain of bowdlerization.

The lack of understanding amongst young people about World War II in particular is especially worrisome.

A national survey from 2020 showed that 61% of millennials and Gen Zers were essentially ignorant about the Holocaust.  By comparison other aspects of the war beyond the atomic bombings of Japan are likely even less familiar.


To their credit, other English-speaking countries are more successful in promoting the necessity of honoring their fallen.

Britain and the Commonwealth have their equivalent of Memorial Day known there as Remembrance Day, when the US commemorates Veterans Day on November 11th, the day the Great War (World War I) ended in 1918.

The ubiquitous wearing of artificial Poppies, a reference to the Flanders fields, by British, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders raises awareness about the special meaning of the day and those  being honored.  Aside from the attire worn by surviving US veterans, many of whom can place a name and a face with loss, the most commonly worn thing by Americans on Memorial Day is sunscreen.

School field trips to plant flags, rub tombstone etchings, and/or walk classes through the cemeteries or memorials to learn about the conflicts that claimed the lives of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen would make a lasting impression in addition to encouraging proper behavior on such grounds hallowed by the interred remains of fallen heroes.

And perhaps they’ll begin to understand why men still were willing to die for a country that did not give them a fair deal and learn about the villainous forces they gave their last full measure to defeat.

For those going out of town, whether to the beach or a camp site or even a theme park, try to make a point of stopping by one of the many military cemeteries across the country if only for a few minutes to dwell on what those resting beneath the granite markers, white crosses, or bronze grave plates went through.

And for those killed in action, try to imagine for a moment how they ended up in that section of earth and the anguish felt by a woman who in that instant went from being a Blue Star Mother to a Gold Star Mother.

If you can give an hour of your time on church or temple on the weekend to give thanks to God then a quarter hour once a year shouldn’t be too much to spare to give thanks to those who crossed into the next life under the most tragic circumstances yet not in vain.



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