Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Reason behind the Season

Memorial Weekend = extra day to have fun, right? Sadly for many of us, that's all it is.

I admit, I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. An extra long weekend to grill, sleep in, head north, have fun with friends, whatever I want. It's an extra slice of heaven waiting for me on the calendar.

How easy it is to forget why it is we get that extra day off. Memorial Day is all about honoring those veterans who protected the very things we take for granted, those who paid the ultimate price and those who made it back with the physical and emotional scars.

Tonight a story on WILX helped put things back into perspective with a twist. The story was about homeless veterans here in Michigan, not only the challenges they face, but difficulties that exist for those trying to remedy the situation.

It's heartbreaking.

These men and women who give up years of their life to defend and protect the rest of us come back to society only to ill-treated, whether it be through medical care, psychological counseling, job placement, and financial assistance. It's wrong for any person, but it's only worse when it happens to any of our veterans.

The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and granddaughter of two WWII Veterans, I've seen the pride in the eyes of a veteran to have served their country honorably, but I've also seen how combat forever affects the mind and soul. It's not uncommon for me to well up with tears at a sporting event as the National Anthem is played.

So enjoy your weekend and your extra day off. You probably deserve it. But just as with any holiday, take care to truly remember the reason behind the season. Take a moment to pause and reflect on those whose day it truly is and thank a veteran, not just on Monday, but on any day. We owe them more than we'll probably ever realize.

(Stay tuned as tomorrow I'll be featuring ways that you can help veterans locally, a story on how one veteran who wants to fight for you here in Michigan, and how our lawmakers are helping veterans all across the state.)


Scott said...

My grandfathers were both World War II veterans as well. Grandma was an Army nurse. Dad was an Army Reservist. So military service runs through the family for us as well.

I've never understood why Memorial Day is in late May. Too bad this solemn observance occurs at a time of the year that allows people to see it as the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

Anonymous said...

Well said. It's appropriate that teh Senate passed an update to the GI Bill today. John McCain couldn't get himself to Washington to vote on it though. He didn't vote on this vital piece of legislations.

That was better than my Congressman, Roscoe Bartlett, and your Congressman, the lovable Mike Rogers, who both voted against it. Until McCain offered up a tortured defense of his failure to vote. Apparently, McCain thinks there's a difference between veterans who were mentally or physically wounded on their first tour of duty and those who suffered wounds on their fourth tour of duty.