There is exactly one occasion around here where we hang out Old Glory, and that’s Memorial Day weekend.
That’s not to say that people who put it up at other times are wrong; certainly not. If properly displayed the US flag can be flown year-round, at all times. Other examples of appropriate occasions to hang the flag would also be the 4th of July, Inauguration Day, Veterans/Armistice Day, Flag Day, the list goes on and you get my drift.
It’s a free country.
We choose to only fly the flag on this hallowed weekend, when we remember the dead.
This is not the weekend when you beat your chest and tell everyone what a great guy you are. This is not a weekend where it’s appropriate to use the sacrifice of 1.2 million Americans for political or commercial ends. Unfortunately, however, you see this too much; it is what it is.
That’s not to say you can’t have fun on this holiday weekend, because you can. Let me give an example.
In the now-distant past, when all of our WW2 veterans were middle aged, we held large family picnics on this weekend. Not on the day itself, but usually on the Saturday before. I remember my uncle Clyde, a tanker, the best. I also remember my Grandpa Magyar, an infantryman. We also had a cohort of Korea and Vietnam guys, they were young then, still in their twenties and thirties. These are with us today; but their ranks are thinning as well.
While it is true that us kids played, and everyone ate and enjoyed themselves, there was always a moment devoted for remembrance and a short prayer.
Does anyone still do this? I hope so.
Our fallen. We have a list, from the Civil War to present.
The parade back then would be somber, a marching line of veterans, everyone headed to the cemetery for a short service by the VFW chaplain. One recollection I have of those days, the late 1970’s, was a Great War veteran. His sister wheeled him onto the porch every year in his high-collared uniform. He had no face.
Our dead. Our honored dead.
Fast forward to now. How to describe this year’s Memorial Day?
Nearly one hundred thousand dead of a terrible epidemic; well over a million struggling with the sickness.
There won’t be any large gatherings. At least, not if people use some common sense.
So I guess this Memorial Day will be spent here at home, remembering, with Old Glory hanging in the pleasant spring breeze.
I don’t think our passed-on ancestors would mind; they’d want us to stay safe and do the right thing.
“This we’ll defend.”