Friday, May 22, 2015

How To Not Be An Asshole: Memorial Day Edition

Memorial Day is coming up-- May 25th, for those of you not paying attention-- and I thought I'd write a Memorial Day post prior to the holiday so when the day arrives, you can know what it's about and maybe actually observe the day appropriately instead of acting like an asshole.
For the readers in other countries-- and, more importantly, for readers in America who have no clue what Memorial Day is actually about-- there's this thing in America called Memorial Day.  It's supposed to be a federal holiday dedicated to remembering and honoring the men and women who have died while serving in the Armed Forces, but most Americans know it as "HOLY-SHIT-I CAN-GET-A-MATTRESS-FOR-NEXT-TO-NOTHING-Day" and/or, "Day-Drinking-Fuck-Yeah-Party-Time-Day" because 'MERICA!  FUCK YEAH, let's all go shopping and then get wasted!
Not only do stores not close for Memorial Day, stores actually EXTEND their hours because we've turned this very serious, somber day of gratitude and reflection into a day to celebrate and promote materialism because we totally have our priorities straight.
"Because Savings died for your freedom!" --Alison
HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS, SALES!!!  I'm sure that's what people who died in the line of duty were thinking of as they took their last breaths:
"I hope...that one day...people will-- *cough, gasp*-- get to-- *chokes on blood*-- get a really good deal on... something-- *final exhale*."
NO.  No, no, no, no, no some more, no again, no several more times, no, no and NO.
What the fuck is wrong with everybody.
Americans are the worst kind of "patriotic" people.  We all stride around the world as if we own the place and we beat our 'Merica drum anytime another country's people have the gall to disagree with us about something--
Remember this fuckery? 
We were wrong about the WMD and you were right.  Our bad, France. 
Look at us not apologizing.
--but when it comes to actually having to take a day to be grateful for the ultimate sacrifices that countless men and women have made to protect and provide the freedom we all take for granted, we can't be bothered.  Everybody has a picnic or goes shopping, or both, because that's the best way to pay homage to the men and women who have died to secure our way of life.
What the fuck is wrong with everybody?  You can't take ONE GODDAMNED DAY to honor the people who have PAID WITH THEIR LIVES to provide you with the freedoms you enjoy?
This day is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY.  It was created so we would HONOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE DIED WHILE SERVING THIS COUNTRY.  Is it too much to ask to have everything shut down?  Is it too much to ask to have all Americans observe it in a way as to honor Our Fallen?  Is it too much to ask to take ONE FUCKING DAY to acknowledge the fact that millions of our own people have sacrificed EVERYTHING to preserve the rights we take for granted?
No one cares.  No one pays attention.
Wait.  That's not quite accurate.
Every single Memorial Day, well-meaning people thank me for my service because they don't understand what Memorial Day is about.  While that's nice and all, let's circle around and review:  Memorial Day is for honoring the men and women who have DIED while serving our country.  Don't thank me for my service on Memorial Day.  I didn't die while serving.  That's not what Memorial Day is about.  I applaud you on your attempt to be decent.  I give you an 'A' for effort, but an 'F' on understanding the assignment.  Thank you for kinda paying attention, but I don't actually appreciate the effort.
For all the assholes who don't know shit about anything and only know Memorial Day as some mysterious thing that gives you a three-day weekend,

This guy is probably your hero.
I get it, America-- you get to have Monday off.  Here's the thing.  While you're enjoying your day off, I want these images burned into your head:

Take a good, hard look at those and then enjoy your barbeques and your shopping sprees.

If, however, you wish to celebrate the day in a way that honors the meaning of the day itself, here are some suggestions:
* Visit cemeteries and place flowers and flags on the graves of fallen heroes.
*Visit memorials dedicated to veterans.
*Fly the flag at half-staff until noon.
*Pause at 3 p.m. for the National Moment of Remembrance.
*Visit disabled or wounded veterans, thank them for their service and listen to their stories (THIS is when it's acceptable to thank someone for their service-- because they more than likely served with close friends who died next to them in combat).  Don't do it out of obligation and go off to happy-time-daydream-land when they tell you their stories.  LISTEN to them.  See their pain.  Give them all the attention you have to give, as little as you may think it means.  Stop for a minute.  Imagine that you were put in a position-- a position YOU VOLUNTEERED TO BE IN-- where you and your closest friends were put in grave danger.  Imagine that a good number of your closest friends were killed in that situation, but you survived.  Imagine that the citizens of your country didn't really give a shit.  Then, imagine that only a few people will come to visit you to ask you how you are and to inquire about what happened that horrible day or days.  You would want to tell them that story and to honor your friends who didn't make it out alive.  You would want to tell their stories to honor them, and you would be so grateful for the fact that someone bothered to ask.  I have sad, angry tears in my eyes as I type this.  How many of you will spend Memorial Day honoring the men and women who have died in service to our country?  How many of you will visit the survivors and listen to their stories?  And how many of you will do no such thing and enjoy your picnics?
If you're totally fine with being an asshole, go shopping and get day-wasted because that's totally your right.  Just remember that millions of people died in order to protect your right to be an uncaring, self-absorbed asshole who doesn't feel in any way obligated to feel even one iota of gratitude for the people who have fought and died for your "right' to be an asshole.
Happy Memorial Day.




  1. This is so perfect and so sadly true. Just another shopping Veteran's Day. I never go shopping on these holidays, mostly because I hate shopping, period. I hate sales, too. I am so glad that I read this...and that I read it today, before the weekend festivities "begin". It will give me something to think about, while I'm pulling weeds, feeding the birds & Koi, and planting a few things outside. It is just another weekend for us, in our free country, but kinda fitting that it is here and your blog came about as we remember The Shrub and WMDs while his stupid brother (The Bigger Shrub with the pudgy face) points out that what we did was "right", even though people died because of lies and entitlement and our expendable soldiers should still be there, fighting & big sales. Thank you, Erin (hugs).

  2. Well said, Erin. Too many of our holidays, that should have some meaning, have been turned into shopping frenzies.