Salute to Spouses Blog

We're excited to be blogging about the latest topics in military life. We want to keep you informed on topics such as current events, education, career advice, etc. Feel free to post comments or questions to any of our entries.
Back Page War

On Monday, it seemed everyone noticed us.

It was Memorial Day and my friends’ Facebook pages were filled with patriotic messages. There were signs up in retailers. Strangers and friends alike thanked my husband for his service.

It was nice. And the sentiment was genuine. But I can’t help but think, there was so much they were missing.

Memorial Day was created to honor those who had given their lives in service to the country. That’s why I drag my Girl Scouts out to the cemetery every year to place tiny American flags on stones of people they don’t know, who died in wars they don’t quite understand.

It is why veterans gather to share memories and families hold graveside vigils. And I really do appreciate the messages of gratitude for my husband and other present day service members.

But during an evening newscast, the announcer spoke of the joyous return this weekend of a local Marine Corps unit. As an aside, she said, “And on a sad note, 4,486 service members have died since September 11 …”.

On a sad note? This isn’t a side, sad note. This is devastating.

What is even more so is to think that the deaths of a staggering 4,486 people warrants little more than a four-second mention, during a holiday that was created specifically to recognize that sacrifice.

When the war began, I was working in a daily newsroom and watched carefully. It took just under six weeks for news of the war to fall off the front page and move to the back. Weeks later, reports from the front were scattered on the inside pages, if you could find them at all.

War, it seemed, was too depressing for the current American mindset. It was far away. It wasn’t local enough. It didn’t change day to day life for the average American family.

It did, however, profoundly change the entire lives of the families of those 4,486 people.

They live with that change every single day.

Sometimes I feel that the rest of the country has to be nudged, reminded once a year to take a moment to say thank you.

The holiday reminds me of Valentine’s Day, another annual ritual I prefer not to celebrate with my husband. I don’t like the idea of him marching into a gift/card/flower/candy store to profess his love to me because the calendar told him to.

I’d rather he told me he loved me when he genuinely felt like saying it.

So while I am not offended by the annual reminder to our fellow countrymen, and I think a day honoring our fallen is more than deserved, I wished our neighbors would take more than just a fleeting moment at an annual barbecue to think about those 4,486 lives, and the thousands who died in battles before them.

I would hope that a moment in time occasionally catches their breath, and they realize just how fortunate they are that these people were willing to protect them and die doing so.

And without the parades, the flags or the reminders, I hope they occasionally say a prayer or simply thank you, in these men and women’s honor.

That is the best Memorial Day celebration I can think of.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

Salute to Spouses Scholarship Recipients