May 30, 2022, - 1:08 am

Memorial Day ’22: Remembering Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

By Debbie Schlussel

Since the United States became a nation and to date, over one million servicemen (and women) made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives so that we would be free. Most of them are, sadly, quickly forgotten. I regret that the Memorial Day of today is not the one that existed when I was a kid–the one on which all stores were closed, mattress sales weren’t going on, and it was a solemn day of remembrance. That’s the way it should be–not a hot dog and barbecue celebration.

Every single person who joins the U.S. Armed Forces knows that at any point he/she could lose a limb, lose their mind/sanity, or give their life. We know that many did so in order to give freedom to Muslims who didn’t want it–in Iraq and in Afghanistan, despite having many billions spent on them and thousands in American lives. These men and women who died in both these countries didn’t have a choice about where they went, but they sacrificed their lives in service to America. And their lives mean something.

I always wince when someone says to me, “Happy Memorial Day.” I get their intent. But it’s not a happy day or a “holiday.” It’s a solemn day for reflection and silent honor for those who died for us and whose memories have faded away into history.

Those who gave their lives in World War II saved my life and those of my family members who survived the Holocaust. Without their valiant fight, Americans would be speaking German, I would never have existed, and my family members who survived and came to America would have, instead become ashes or lampshades. And many, many more gave their lives in equally valiant battles.

So, instead of treating this as just another day off, make it mean something. Stop for a moment to think about these people who gave up their futures–in many cases, they never got to marry, have children, live out their dreams. All so that we could live out our dreams or try to. They never even got to try, in many cases.

Say a prayer for their families for whom today and every day has an emptiness and sadness for which their is no cure. There are kids who have no father, parents who will never see their sons and daughters marry and have their grandchildren. Many lives never lived after they were snuffed out by the enemy or otherwise sacrificed on the battlefield and in service.

We can never make it up to them. They gave all so that we would have some, if not all.


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