For those unpatriotic bastards who forgot, today was Memorial Day. Did you put your flag up and say a prayer for the soldiers? Today’s the day you’re supposed to do that, you know? That, and have a barbecue picnic in the cloudy sun. Such is how we show appreciation in America–with scheduled “thank yous” and obedience to norms; appropriate, mandated responses at the correct time.
We need these designated calendar holidays to remind us to remind the people we care about that we care about them.
A few weeks ago was Mother’s Day, so we all called our moms. Several months ago, on Valentines Day, we dutifully made sure our significant others didn’t feel insignificant. Nothing says I love you like chocolate, white fluffy stuffed bears, and really expensive rocks that used to be as plentiful as seashells on African beaches. Unless you have no significant other, in which case your task was to pout and be bitter all day.
Either way, I’ll bet I can guess what you didn’t do on Valentine’s Day. Did you play taps, or call your parents just to say you loved and missed them. Of course not, and why would you? That wasn’t required, not part of the rules for that particular date. No need to be superfluous and express love or appreciation that’s beyond the scope of our structured love and appreciation zones.
We’ve become a nation that needs to be told everything. Humanity has etiquette, kindness follows its own strict decorum. A rose is a rose is a rose, but it smells so much sweeter on culturally prescribed special occasions, wrapped in expectations from which we’ll be excused for the next 364 days.
Take time today to remember those who sacrificed for your freedom. Then go back to forgetting.