That's right. It CAN be National BBQ Day and I'll tell you why I feel that way.
- If you are serving in the military you know that before you enlisted you didn't spend Memorial Day Weekend reflecting on those that already were serving.
- Nobody in the military chooses to serve to be remembered. We don't do it to make people stop and thank us. Truth be told, it makes most of us uncomfortable when we get singled out.
- We serve to protect the way of life of the average American. If they want to BBQ with their family and that is their version of the American dream, then that's why you raised your right hand. We don't dictate how people should be Americans. We are but humble servants of the principles this country was founded on; not enforcers of our will.
- Guilting people into remembering is a terrible tactic that lacks any modicum of class.
I may be a veteran, but before that I'm a person. I think we should encourage people to have their BBQs. Party with friends and family. Not all service members get the chance, and that sucks. I've missed plenty of holidays being overseas deployed or even just being stationed away. But I did that by choice. I can't be mad at the people who made a different choice. And if the civilians back home aren't enjoying beautiful weather, a long weekend, and friends/family; then what the hell are we fighting for in the first place?
Now, much blood was shed and many lives were lost so those grills could be fired up. I truly understand that. And we commercialize the shit out of every holiday. So a little remembrance and honor is not too much to ask. I just don't see any reason to beat people over the head with it. Don't guilt them. Pictures of tombstones and legless veterans will never win hearts and minds. And I don't think those people would want to be used as propaganda anyway (I don't know that, but I'd bet a paycheck on it).
So... how about we act just slightly genteel for once in our lives and educate and remind? Why not say something like, "I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. If you can see your way clear, take a moment to remember all those who have served and are still servicing and all the sacrifices that have been made along the way." Why does it have to be harsh visuals that strong arm someone into feeling a certain way?
Besides, wouldn't you prefer a genuine thanks instead of one that was coaxed out? I know I would.
Consider this your mentorship from a proud Non-Commissioned Officer. I'll be BBQing thankfully this weekend. We can do both.