Loading, Please Wait...
Daily Journal
     June 4, 2021      #87-155 KDJ

No one is exempt from the gift from our deceased

By Ron Jackson

New Year’s Eve and July 4th used to be my favorite holidays. Why I looked forward to celebrating the opportunity of the last night of the year to lie to myself by making promises I would not keep is now laughable. Maybe I did it because I thought everyone else was doing it. Or I assumed at least everyone else I would encounter that night did the same thing.

Plan an evening. Foolishly spend money I could not afford. Over-indulge in unhealthy activity. Wake up the following day questioning my decision making. No rhyme or reason. Certainly, there are some memorable times but nothing meaningful. Then start counting down the days until my next favorite holiday.

For similar reasons, the Independence Day holiday was always a carefree day or three. It did not require much effort or thought. It was less expensive than the last day of the year. I did not have to make any silly, irrational resolutions. It had little if anything to do with being patriotic. After all, the date marked our beginning as a sovereign nation. A sovereignty that would last less than 100 years before we decided to tear it apart. Again, no rhyme or reason. But when you are young, healthy, carefree, and free, who needs reason?

Time changes things. Especially people. While I don’t refer to Memorial Day as a favorite holiday, it is my most anticipated date on the calendar. And with good reason. I don’t have to spend money. I don’t have to light candles. I don’t have to do anything. Except reflect.

The older I get, the more I find myself contemplating all the opportunities I have been afforded because of the sacrifices of others. All the liberties, rights and privileges that I sometimes take for granted are because of the selfless decisions of others. And, unlike other days of celebration that may appeal to certain populations, Memorial Day is a reminder that every citizen of these United States has been impacted equally. No one is exempt from the gift from our deceased veterans.

We may be demographically categorized, but no one group of citizens has more earned and protected rights than any other. Those who died in duty to this country did so to the benefit of the rich and poor, male and female, young and old, the native and immigrant, the left and right. We all have the same reason to pause and reflect.

As we safely hit the highways, fire up the grills, pop open cold ones this weekend, Monday is the actual day of remembrance. It is customary for a moment of reflection to take place at 3 p.m. local time. Not while operating a motorized vehicle of course. During that timeout, we are to honor and remember those who are no longer here. To try and comprehend the decisions made by the millions of men and women to sacrifice their lives in defense of everything we hold dear and take for granted. If not for them, where and what would we be?

If for nothing else, we should reflect on the right we have to express discontent with our government without fear of retribution by the government. This past year, we have witnessed millions of citizens exercising their right to peacefully protest. And some protesting not so peacefully. But none have been ostracized for it.

Should you decide to celebrate this year’s Memorial Day, I hope you do it safely. And if you would, please set your electronic reminder to 3 p.m. Monday in honor of those who made it possible.

If you need an old-fashioned reminder, just drive by a local cemetery. That’s what all those beautiful flags are for.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through the Daily Journal at​ editors@daily-journal.com.

1 of 1