So that I can spend more time with my family, I entrust this week’s column to a brilliant fourth-grader from an unnamed small American town.
Hi. My name is Liam. My history teacher, Mr. Burkhalter, asked us to write a 500-word essay about the public’s lack of appreciation for the importance of Memorial Day.
My grandfather suggested to title the essay “They have fallen and our enthusiasm cannot rise”. Grandpa says a lot of things that make us check his pill box.
Mr. Burkhalter, whom you may recall I mentioned two paragraphs ago, drives a long, long, long way to educate us children, including Jenny and Claire and Eliot and Noah (how I do with the word count?), so I paid close attention when he stated that Memorial Day is a day to honor members of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
After he explained that these brave men and women had died so the rest of us could enjoy our freedoms, I decided that “ultimate sacrifice” was indeed an appropriate term. But I just want to say for the record that sharing a room with my little brother should be seen as the next ultimate sacrifice. Sure, the Kaiser used chemical warfare, but he never threw Petey’s dirty socks into the trenches. Search it on Google.
It’s hard to imagine the hardships endured by our heroes, often short of food, short of medical supplies, short of pronouns…
The beginning of the observance that evolved into Memorial Day was in 1868. General John A. Logan probably had plenty of time to hold such solemn ceremonies because I understand video games at the time were totally lame. Don’t get me started on the Pony Amazon riders.
Even though many people think of Memorial Day as just a three-day weekend (Indy 500! Action movies! Trip to the beach!), it’s become part of the fabric of America. (Speaking of fabric, they’re having a big Memorial Day sale at Clem’s Clothing Castle. Sing a verse of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” — whatever — and get 10% off your order.)
Adults often refer to Memorial Day as “the unofficial start of summer.” You’d think Summer would be grateful the humans gave her an unofficial departure, but it’s usually all about, “I’ve got your mosquitoes and your heat here, mate.”
Memorial Day has become a lot like fun-focused Independence Day, except without the fireworks (unless mom catches dad showing off his “Kiss the Cook” apron a little too suggestively with Ms. Houlihan in the street).
Do you know what would be a great way to celebrate Memorial Day? You know all those books about the cities you have to visit before you die and the foods you have to eat before you die and the movies you have to watch before you die? Maybe a classmate of mine will write “The 100 Warmongering Politicians You Must Get Rid of Before You Die”.
I appreciate our hard-earned opportunities. If not for fallen patriots, I might be speaking a foreign language, with phrases like “three channels” and “playing outside” and “here’s the change from your fill.”
Thanks, Liam. I hope you have inspired everyone to observe a minute of silence at 3:00 p.m. on May 30.
I can almost feel the bombs popping in the air… No! Wait! It’s Petey’s socks!!!
Danny Tyree’s column is distributed by Cagle Cartoons. Tyree welcomes responses by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.