I know that Memorial Day is Monday. I'm not sure where I'll spend it, but I know that three years ago I was in Europe for Memorial Day. Here the day is hailed as the beginning of summer and a day for picnics and parades. We honor those who fought in wars in other parts of the world. But what a difference to celebrate Memorial Day in Europe where you are walking literally on the battlefield. I had the honor of attending -- by accident -- part of the Memorial Day celebration at the American memorial in Bastogne (Belgium) where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. The event was a Belgium celebration, with veterans, politicians, children, and the military. There was an American honor guard. And since the Europeans don't celebrate Memorial Day on the same day, I was also able to attend the Memorial Day celebration at the American cemetery in Luxembourg, where General Patton is buried. Lots of dignitaries at that one. The feeling, though, was the same at both -- thankfulness for those who fought to save Europe, no matter their nationality. And the realization that we here in the U.S. have no idea what it is like to live in the middle of a war that envelopes your region, your town, your life. However you celebrate the day this year, do take a moment to be thankful for those who fought, those who died, and for those of us who have been spared the knowledge.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Memorial Day 2010
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.(May 31, a Monday holiday). On May 24, 2001, I wrote the following about observing Memorial Day in Europe in 1998. It still captures how I feel about the day: