I didn't want to write about Memorial Day again... not for a while. But I've been mentally exhausted since Saturday. At first I didn't know why, but then the dawn of realization crept up on me. Blinded me, really. I should've known better, but I can honestly state that even with awareness of the encroaching "holiday," it took me by surprise.
The old (and dishearteningly accurate) cliché is that ignorance is bliss. Memorial Day was a far better weekend back when there was no one to remember. But those days are long ago, never to return. And the fucking list just keeps getting longer.
Sure, I can bitch about the wars, the politics behind the wars, the politicians behind the politics, and the seemingly ignorant voters (blissful voters, perhaps) behind the politicians, but that's never been and never will be the point behind being in the military. Not for me, anyway. Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, whomever... they don't care. It's a job. And as blasé as that may seem, it's how most active service-members and veterans view it. There are no politics at the bottom levels. Only co-workers and friends.
Some of these men and women will continue to spend Memorial Day the way they've always spent it. With friends and family at the beach, or at a barbecue, or at an amusement park, or wherever it is their own personal traditions dictate that they go. For many, the status quo is a safety net... their way to cope. For others, it's a preservation of something. But they'll notice something different. They have no other choice.
Me, though. I'll be somewhere, lost in thought. It is a strange biological clock that reminds someone that it's time to be a little depressed and more reverent than usual. There's no point in fighting it. I'm already mentally exhausted, after all... why add physical exhaustion to the fold?
My time in the military - both the direct and indirect involvement - is now safely over. This newer status is likely never to change again and, for that, there is a small modicum of gratitude. But memories of names and faces remain, along with questions both hypothetically useless and hyperrealistically hopeless. Still, for one day at least, I'll allow them to be asked... and offer responses that have no answers.