Growing up with three siblings, the phrase, “Don’t you steal my thunder.” was commonly uttered in various forms and contexts. When one of us got to be recognized or do something on our OWN without the tag-a-long of siblings it was a pretty big deal. Unfortunately, I developed an uncanny knack for stealing my siblings’ individual thunders by being in the emergency room. Like fracturing my elbow the day before my sister graduated highschool, or dislocating my ankle while home alone as my parents were driving down to see my brother’s musical performance in college. Thankfully, despite my medical shennanigans drawing attention away from the proper recipients, my siblings still love me. 😛 However, it’s made me very aware of “thunder stealers” and our country is fast approaching a big one.
It is often well intentioned, or completely accidental, but thunder stealing does in fact draw attention away from the actual thing that deserves the thunder. And that’s not usually so great.
So. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died in military service to this country. Died. Ultimate sacrifice. They’ve left widows and widowers, children, and parents, friends and comrades in arms- grieving and hurting and picking up broken pieces. This day honors them. Their lives and their death. And we celebrate by enjoying the day in their rememberance.
It is not Veteran’s Day.
I repeat. It. Is. Not. Veteran’s Day.
I know several veterans who actually get rather uncomfortable when you try to thank them on this day of all days. They’re still alive. This day is NOT about them. I know it is often well intentioned with the donations and the funding drives and the acknowledgement of those risking their lives and yadda yadda yadda….but there is a day for that. It’s Veteran’s Day. And that isn’t Memorial Day.
So please-don’t thank a living veteran. Instead, find a way to honor those who have died. Take a moment to appreciate their lives. Resist the urge to bloviate all over social media about how you’ve done so to get the most likes, instead try taking a quiet two minutes to really reflect on death, and life. On sacrifice. On honor. On love. On war…
…you could really take longer than two minutes.
Like maybe a day.