I have friends buried in a small corner of a rolling green field just down the road from the Pentagon. They’re permanently assigned to Section 60. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s 14 acres in the southeast corner of Arlington National Cemetery that serves as a burial ground for many military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are fresh graves there.
I spent my formative years in combat boots and all of my friends are in the military, were in the military, or married into the military. I have several friends buried at Arlington, and know of dozens more men and women interred in that hallowed ground . . .
I toyed with the idea of making the trip south from New York City this weekend to spend some time, reflect and sit quietly but decided against it. Some friend, huh?
I’m angry. I’ve come to realize people think Happy Memorial Day is the official start of summer. It’s grilled meat, super-duper discounts, a day (or two) off work, beer, potato salad and porches draped in bunting.But it shouldn’t be. It’s more than that. Nearly 150 years ago, Memorial Day— first called Decoration Day— was set aside to decorate the graves of the men who’d recently died in battle. America was still reeling from the Civil War when Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation in 1868, according to a PBS account of his decision. “The 30th of May,” he declared, “would be an occasion to honor those who died in the conflict.” (Read more from "I'm a Veteran, and I Hate Happy Memorial Day - Here's Why" HERE)