Christopher Buckley writes that, although Memorial Day is meant to honor those who lost their lives in service, he’ll be remembering all veterans today.
Memorial Day, as Wikipedia reminds us in the first sentence of its entry, is when we honor those who died while serving in our country’s wars. Veterans Day, in November, is when we remember those who served and made it home.
I was among the many who gathered one day in 1982 at the unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Its shiny black granite walls, sunken into the earth in an obtusely angled V, is engraved with the names of the more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in that painful era of the “long twilight struggle” (see JFK, inaugural speech).
That day, and on many subsequent visits, I watched sturdy men, in and out of uniform, press their fingers to the names of lost comrades, break down and openly weep. For them, and for the members of “the Greatest Generation” who fought a more conclusive and defined war two decades earlier—and not forgetting those who fought in Korea, the so-called “forgotten war”—Memorial Day is something far more than an occasion for barbecue, beer and car sales.
Read more here from Buckley in the Wall Street Journal.