I have read tweets and Facebook posts from groups and people about what Memorial Day means. I have read about how Memorial Day is not about a long weekend, parties, and the beginning of summer. I will argue that is exactly what Memorial Day is! Memorial Day is not about sitting around mourning the loss of fallen soldiers, it is about celebrating the men and women who were willing to die for your right to have long weekends, parties, and summer fun. I am a veteran and my wife will attest to this that it makes me feel uncomfortable when people tell me “Thank you for your service!” I never know how to answer it, I usually just say “Thank you”, but what I really want to say is “Don’t verbally thank me, if you want to thank me exercise the rights that you have that so many have given their lives for.” I believe this is the attitude of most veterans, it upsets me to no end when you have these people celebrate veterans three times a year, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day but yet under half the country will vote. I gave a speech at the Veteran’s Day assembly at Canfield Middle School about four years ago and the crux of the speech was do not thank a veteran, show them how much you appreciate them by exercising the rights that they have given you. Therefore I do believe that Memorial Day is about celebrating with parties, golf, and having a great time because we can. We do not live in China or in Russia and we should be proud of the fact that so many have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, they should be celebrated not mourned for they did not die in vain but they died in the most honorable way possible. There is nothing more honorable than laying down one’s life so that others, complete strangers, can enjoy the freedoms that this country offers.
This next point seems to many like it might be the exact opposite of what I wrote above but bear with me it will make sense. The NFL came out with a ruling about the National Anthem “controversy” that they have had the last two years. The NFL has mandated that if a player wants to not stand during the anthem they should remain in the locker room or be subject to fines. If they are out of the locker room they are expected to stand for the anthem. This seems to go against every fiber of the Constitution that many of us have sworn to defend and some have died defending. The constitution is for everyone not just who we choose can have rights. This rule is insane, in fact, it is an injustice that they are attempting to take away a player’s right to peacefully protest. Also, do not tell me that they should keep politics out of sports, the National Anthem and flyovers are political statements that start most sporting events. I have also heard the argument that “I can’t protest at my job!” to this I answer that these guys are the top 1% of all people that can play in professional football, that is why people always urge them to use their platform to elicit change. Secondly, if your job is stifling your rights as an American maybe it is time to find another job. In my opinion, the players and anyone else for that matter should be allowed to exercise their rights however they see fit whether that be kneeling, staying in the locker room. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me the difference between NFL players kneeling and some random guy walking up the stairs with a beer and nachos to his seat with his hat on during the National Anthem.
Happy Memorial Day everyone, honor fallen veterans by exercising your rights that they have died defending for you.