I suspect that if you talk to younger Americans (those in, say, high school or college) about Memorial Day, precious few of them would know what the day signified. Most of them can’t be blamed for their ignorance; they are simply victims of a broken education system and the potent masochism of teachers and professors. Even among those who do know, the day is merely an excuse to have time off from work or school and have barbecues and drinks.
Formerly called Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated during the Civil War to honor the war dead of that supremely bloody conflict. The exact place of its origin is disputed, though Congress in 1966 declared Waterloo, New York, to be the birthplace of the holiday. It wasn’t until after the First World War that the day meant honoring those who had died in all American wars.
The merchants of guilt would have you believe that American history is nothing but a story of evil, that American soldiers are naïve pawns at best and malevolent stormtroopers at worst. Their views have taken over academia and have trickled down into many corners of mainstream society. Resist them. Resist the awful conventional wisdom of intellectuals. Never be guilt-tripped into having anything other than love for your country and for those who fight and die to protect it. In one of my favorite old columns, Thomas Sowell wrote:
To build a beautiful world of ideals takes only an active imagination, some free time, and a nice vocabulary. But the world people live in is the world of reality. And to make that world decent and free takes much hard work, much sacrifice, and many young men buried under a sea of crosses at places like Normandy and Iwo Jima.
Endless thanks to our fallen warriors. Have a wonderful day, dear readers.