WHAT Roy said. It really cannot be that difficult to note each May that Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen, not the merely hobbled, and not the Still Alive and Fortunate To Be Playing Tuba in the Marine Band at the Indianapolis 500. If this sounds harsh, so be it. The dead don't care; it's the living who are capable of making the distinction, and are thus responsible for doing so, in their honor. It isn't as though there's no Armed Forces Day, no Armed Forces Week, no Army Day, Navy Day, Air Force Day, Marine Corps Day, Coast Guard Day, no Flag Day, First Responder Day, nor that Armistice Day, once set aside to reflect on the enormity of War, hasn't been hijacked and turned into another celebration of how much we spend on military hardware and lapel pins (oh, and our Solemn Thanks, boys and girls, for manning the things for us).
The local teleprompter readers--on Channel 8, at least--kept reminding the audience that it was a day for Memorials, but it was pretty obvious that training and inclination led them to believe otherwise. There was a long tear-jerker with the parents of a deceased local soldier, all through which I kept waiting to hear where he died. And I waited in vain, but near the end there was a shot of his grave marker, with the year "1996". Meaning he may well have died while in uniform, but unless he malingered from Desert Storm he didn't die in combat. Which makes it no less of a loss, nor he less worthy of remembrance, but it seemed at least to obscure what all the careful talk had tried to do, just before the toss.
Other stories, of course, obliterated it. This was not a day to celebrate hot-headed xenophobes dragged from the local VFW cavern into the street, where the light is better for the cameras (that day, of course, is Republican National Committee Convention Nomination Day). Or was it? But, y'know--and this goes for local weathermen, too--if you must do it could you at least find one who isn't wearing Old Glory as a necktie?
Look, obviously, I didn't make the rules; they're yours. Could you follow them? The Flag is not an item of bodily decoration. You're not honoring it by treating it that way. You're honoring yourself, and for the absolute cheapest sentiment not involving the gray locks of Dear Old Mother. It's long past time to reclaim a national symbol from the clutches of political partisans who gladly traded our international reputation (and some of our blood) for the opportunity to air their Napoleonic envy in public, from the poshlust taste of middling public figures, and, yes, from the 21st century Good Germans and various yahooligans. You blew it, man. Go into your closet to pray; it's still good advice. Maybe we'd still have 4000 men and women alive to help us remember the sacrifice of others. God knows we'd have a trillion more dollars to stage a celebration with. Maybe we could set aside a day to honor people who've fought to inject a little rationality into US foreign policy, or to keep young men and women from being sacrificed for periodically-ginned-up patriotic fervor. Call it Age of Reason Day. At least the parade would be over a lot quicker, and there'd be plenty of parking.