When one talks about Memorial Day, it is important to know what it means and most importantly who it is honoring. The thing to remember is, this day is reserved for the fallen warriors who died in defense of our country not for the veterans who march in honor of their missing comrades.

Many of our well-meaning and patriotic neighbors in our little bucolic town thanked us for our service as we marched past in our annual parade where we trod thru the center of the town and visited four different cemeteries to pay homage to our veterans.

But this day, Memorial Day isn’t about the men marching. That’s reserved for Veterans’ Day in November. This day is to remember and honor the nearly one million men and women who fell defending our country, our way of life and the very freedoms we enjoy today.

It is often slightly uncomfortable when citizens thank you on Memorial Day because the day should be about our fallen comrades…thank them. But I understand where they’re coming from and there is definitely no malice involved.

But when it comes to the fallen warriors, there is the undercurrent of politics that has no place in Memorial Day.

Too often today, political beliefs and leanings skew perceptions about veterans and whether a war or conflict is a “just war” or not. Military members don’t get to pick and choose which conflict they’ll support. They must put their trust in their own leaders to never put them in harm’s way for a needless cause.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t have distinct feelings about an area of the world or the war that they’re taking part in. They do. They’re not mindless robots who go off to fight wherever the government tells them. But their sense of pride in their unit and the men and women to their left and right will get them thru.

The veterans we honor on Memorial Day were someone’s son, brother, father, daughter, sister, or mother. They answered the call of duty and served their country, in most cases far from home. Their sacrifice will not be in vain as long as we remember and honor them. And live our lives according to the ideals that our country prides itself on.