Memorial Day Is Not Veterans Day

Every year on Memorial Day, multiple people thank Adam for his service to this country. While he appreciates the acknowledgement, Memorial Day is not his day. Adam is alive and well and continues to work for the US Navy on a daily basis. His holiday is in November – Veterans Day. Edited: Technically, Adam’s day is Armed Forces Day. Memorial Day is for those who died serving. Veteran’s Day is for those who previously served. And Armed Forces Day is for those who are currently serving.

Memorial Day is not for the service members that are currently serving or veterans who are still living. Memorial Day is is for remembering those that gave up their lives for this country. The ones that didn’t return home from war. The loved ones that were lost as a sacrifice for our freedom. The men and women who are mourned and celebrated for their heroic efforts to keep us safe. That is what Memorial Day is for.

Memorial Day is not a “happy” holiday. The truth is, there’s nothing happy about casualties of war. There’s nothing happy about those who are still missing or have never been recovered from the lands in which they fought.

On Sunday, Adam and I will be participating in a motorcycle ride in Pensacola coordinated by the Viet Nam Vets and Legacy Vets motorcycle club. The ride ends at the Pensacola Veteran’s Memorial Park with a commemorative ceremony. We have done this for the past two years and it’s an awesome experience. There are hundreds of bikes that participate and a speaker that will bring you to tears with a first hand account of war and the importance of remembrance.

This is video from the ride last year. You can spot Adam and I around the 1:11 mark. This is over NINE MINUTES of motorcycles. (If you’re in the area, I recommend you find a spot along the route to watch, especially if you have children. It really is a sight to see.)

If you’re local, there will be a service to honor our fallen heroes in Jacksonville at the Veterans Memorial Wall downtown starting at 8:30am Monday morning. (More information here.)

And if you’re lucky enough to be in Washington, DC this weekend, you really have no excuse for not taking part in a Memorial Day event. There will be parades, concerts, ceremonies, and the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally, an event that is on my bucket list. (More information here.)

So, on Monday, while you’re enjoying your time at the beach, having your family over for barbecues, or taking advantage of the Memorial Day sales, take a few minutes to remember those who gave up their lives so that you can enjoy these freedoms. Today is much more than the unofficial start to Summer.

All gave some; some gave all.

Featured photo taken by me at the Pensacola Memorial Wall in 2013. It’s always been one of my favorites.

4 thoughts on “Memorial Day Is Not Veterans Day”

  1. I take a little bit of umbrage with the line “You really have no excuse for not taking part in a Memorial Day event” because it is truly one of the most congested, crowded, anxiety-inducing days to be in D.C., & transportation is impossible, & last year when I accidentally ended up at the Mall during all the Memorial Day events, I cried because it was so stressful & awful.

    Aside from that, I am totally on board with this post, & I spent a lot of time saying the same thing to people when I was dating Nathan – & now, too! That said, I do understand why people feel inclined to thank servicemembers & vets for their service on Memorial Day, even if it’s not “their” day. On a day when we’re all so acutely aware of the sacrifice made by so many, there is an even deeper sense of gratitude toward those who have chosen to serve, & a deep relief in their safety amidst so much sadness & grief.

    That picture of Adam is really powerful. Thanks for this post.

    1. (Is it bad I had to look up the word umbrage? I had no idea what it meant. Thanks for the vocabulary lesson, ha!) You know, I’m with you and I probably could have worded that differently. There’s events here in Jax that I avoid like the plague that other people think are the best ever. The one that comes to mind is the Florida vs. Georgia football game every October. I’ve been downtown for the event before but now wouldn’t be caught dead in it. So, touche. And thanks for the two cents!

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