Memorial Day. On the American calendar, the last Monday in May is set aside for this government holiday. For many Americans, it marks the unofficial start of summer, with many schools (especially in the prime fanbase areas for this team) finished for the academic year, and the others fast approaching the end of term. People will make their ways to the various swimming pools, beaches and other outdoor/summer associated destinations. For the pro football fan, Memorial Day signals not only the dawn of summer, but the fast approaching start of the new NFL season. While in the “dead zone” in the NFL calendar, save some OTAs, the next big event is the coming of pre-season, and the chance for optimism about the new season, especially for the Texans.
Yet, Memorial Day signifies far more than its correlation to the coming of summer. Since the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, Americans made a point to set aside a date on the calendar to honor those who fought and died under the American Flag. Accounting for all wars since the American Revolution, over 1 million Americans died fighting for this nation (Note: for the US Civil War, still the bloodiest conflict in US history, many sources will count the estimated 258,000 Confederate dead. While they technically fought under another nation’s flag, most rolled those numbers into the final tallies, mainly on the reunification after the war). Likely can double to triple that number for those non-fatalities, but marked as casualties. In one respect, the US is fortunate to have such relatively low numbers, when you figure that some nations fought in single battles where more combatants died than in 240+ years of America’s wars. Still, even a single loss of life is a stark reminder of the ultimate price people pay in support of a nation and its ideals.
Amid all the hoopla and holiday festiveness, this can be a tough time for many. This is the second Memorial Day since the conclusion of US military operations in Afghanistan, and many still struggle with the impacts of that conflict. US personnel continue to serve across the global in a myriad of roles, with varying degrees of risk. Counterterrorism, low-intensity conflicts and other non-war operations still require the dedication and sacrifice from our personnel and their families, and unfortunately, people still pay the ultimate price. My fervent prayer is that we’ve seen the last of major warfare for the US, and that we would never add to our war dead totals, but regrettably, Afghanistan will not be the last major conflict involving US personnel. Memorial Day should remind us of not only what price was paid in the past, but that there is no certainty about the future. “Freedom ain’t free” might sound cliche, but that saying has a very significant point.
So, amid the revelry and celebrations, the cookouts, the parties and general merriment, at least take a moment to reflect on the true reason for why we have this holiday. If you get a chance to participate in some form of commemoration, from a parade or a ceremony at a memorial, do so. If you volunteered to lay flags or wreaths at the gravesites/memorials of the fallen, congratulations. Yet, even as we honor the dead, don’t forget the living. Many a charity exists to offer support and aid for those that gave so much to help us.
We at Battle Red Blog wish all of our readers the best Memorial Day possible, whether you honor it in reverence or celebrate with some well-earned time off. For those that must work this day, hopefully you will get some well-earned compensation time in the near future. Enjoy, celebrate what we have…but do so responsibly. We want to see all of you back the same, if not better, after the Memorial Day break, as we gear up toward the start of the 2023 Season (and for the Texans, there might actually be some reason to really look forward to the season…so we want you back ready to share in the (possible) burgeoning glory).