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Memorial Day vs. Independence Day

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I heard a saying yesterday as we were “celebrating” Memorial Day and it went something like this (and I clearly can’t stop thinking about it hence this blog post).

“Memorial Day has become the new Fourth of July.”

Agreed. It has become a holiday filled with drinking, partying, BBQs, a day off of work, partying, a celebration of sorts, shopping sales and specials, save now “Memorial Day” promo codes annoyingly all over Instagram, hell, even red, white and blue cupcakes could be purchased, as well as, blue Bud Light packages covered in white stars. So patriotic. Way to go America.

We are losing it. I couldn’t agree more that “Memorial Day has become the new Fourth of July.”

As Chris Kyle’s father Wayne said at the TORC off-road races on this past Saturday night at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, “Please keep in mind Memorial Day doesn’t mean backyard barbecues. It doesn’t mean swimming parties. It’s a time for us to remember who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

He was right. On Memorial Day, we devote ourselves to you. You, the one who gave your life, for us. For this country. For our freedom. For my freedom.

I had tears rolling down my face watching the Kyle family. It really resonated with me because that is what everyone is doing nowadays. Everyone is partying like its Fourth of July. Hence, Memorial Day is becoming the new Fourth of July. Can you disagree? Maybe you can, if you are someone who has lost that someone. That solider. That solider who you said good-bye to you, and that solider who said good-bye back, and it really meant good-bye forever.

Yesterday, I put on my #merica bikini paired with a blue cover-up and shared my camo bikini with my best friend. Yes, I had a few beers. Three to be exact. But as I watched hundreds of people partying on boats tied up around me, I got mad. I got disappointed. There were less American flags, stars and stripes, than I envisioned I would see out on Lake Pleasant.

I was embarrassed by the people around me. There was no country music. Just ghetto rap blaring swear words around me. Sorry, nothing Americana about that. People were too drunk to function. Not quite as many Americana bikinis either. Very few patriotic board shorts too. I was flat out pissed off about those around me. Don’t even bring up social media. I still saw a post today about “partying”. Yes, I had a few beers but my posts on social media were about the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice. At least, I had my American proud showing loud and proud.

Too many Americans are clueless about what this day really means. What it stands for. What it signifies.

No, this wasn’t a day to “celebrate” and I did, yes, but much differently than those around me. I was definitely soaking it all in (and not just the sun). I didn’t witness one toast to anyone in specific. I didn’t notice one toast, besides our own (cheers to #merica), to the lives lost. I didn’t hear any talk of Memorial Day and it’s significance. Nothing, at all, on a serious matter.

And, nothing drive me more nuts, than “Happy” Memorial Day. Because guess what? This is not a happy day. My heart hurt thinking as I drank my beers for the families mourning. The wives missing their husbands. So dearly that I get a frog in my throat. Children missing their dads. The soldiers who lost their best friends in action. Solider who lost their dogs in battle. The dogs who saved their lives. Their partners in crime. It is the dog mom in me – so many K9s gave their lives for this country so we could act like damn idiots.

I felt so lucky to not have lost a close friend or family member to war or duty. I felt so lucky to know that every one of the soldiers in my family has “come home”.  I got a frog in my throat and held back the tears thinking about the movie American Sniper. Then I started thinking about all the veterans, 22 on average, committing suicide every day. My heart hurt thinking about what Chris Kyle’s father Wayne said the other night in opening ceremonies as his wife, Chris’s mom Debbie, who wore sunglasses to hide the tears.

I always said I could never date or marry someone in the military. I am not tough enough. I am glad my little sister chose that life. It makes me so proud. I could’t do it for the harsh reality of if I lost them how I would keep going. Like Taya Kyle lost Chris.

We are clueless (most of us). We are heartless (most of us). We are too busy enjoying a day off of work (most of us).

Let’s continue…

Google didn’t even honor the fallen. It made national news and you can read the article headlined Google Doesn’t Really Care to Honor the Fallen on Memorial Day by clicking here.

Hundreds of thousands of heroes have lost their lives so people could act like drunken idiots. So families and friends could come together on this day off, and BBQ and drink. And celebrate. At least, bring your patriotism and take a moment to say a prayer and discuss with someone what today means to you (and what today means in general). I wanted the heavens to hear us today. Believe me. That was my goal. I don’t think they did.

I am glad my crew called me “Miss America” yesterday. Someone even jokingly said I was like “George Bush’s daughter”. I wanted my patriotic pride to shine (it did, I think) so those around me would perhaps have a Memorial Day “realization” and remember that this is a day to remember the countless lives we have lost for freedom. I hope the heavens could hear me personally because I am so proud to be an American.

Here is a little history lesson for you if you need a Memorial Day refresher course.

I am glad that many people continue to thank our Veterans (Veteran’s Day) and recognize those continuing to serve in the Armed Forces. We should be doing that every day.

We need to come together as a country and not treat Memorial Day as Independence Day. It is not Fourth of July people!

We also need to take Memorial Day and address the issues like suicide, mental illness, and lack of health care, and jobs, for our soldiers and Veterans. We need to remember the fallen on Memorial Day and not just celebrate our freedom to be wild and crazy, and free. We need to get out and decorate the countless graves of those we have lost. Not get out on the lakes.

I was guilty yesterday for celebrating Memorial Day like I would Independence Day.

Do you realize how many American soldiers have died fighting for our freedom? For protecting the ground we walk on? Next time you see an American flag, I pray you stop. Look up. And say a prayer. And I pray, that you truly realize how great of a nation we are and that we are protected below by those above.

GOD BLESS THE USA!

Here is a great article from the Washington Post about why Memorial Day is different from Veterans Day and why it is not Independence Day.

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