But is writing a couple of sentences enough to remember? Is it enough to recall the sacrifice of the men of Iwo Jima, or the men and women who found the concentration camps, or the men and women who are risking there lives as I write this now, fighting against a nearly invisible enemy in counties most people know nothing about?
From what I understand, Lansing does not even have a Memorial Day parade, they have a ceremony in a cemetery. Yet even this was not in any news source that I saw.
I drove to my hometown of Marshall, as I usually do, to be with my Father who is a WWII veteran. (He was a radio operator for the Army Air Corps, serving in the Philippines, in Leyte Gulf, and on Guam) He was riding on the VFW trolley. My brother drove our Fatherâ€™s 1932 Plymouth a little farther back in the parade, and I rode with him, his wife and my Mother.
What I saw along the parade route made me so sad. On streets that used to be four deep with people on Memorial Day, now there were only a smattering of people â€“ you could have driven buses between the groups of people.
After the parade, on to the cemetery and even fewer people. As my Father, and his fellow veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam stood at attention (as best they could), I watched the arm my Dad was saluting with, how it shook from Parkinsonâ€™s Disease, and I looked around. People on cell phones, talking to whoever they came with, and the â€œcrowdâ€ was pitifully small. Hardly any bowed their head to pray with the VFW Chaplain, even fewer sang along to The Star Spangled Banner, and of those who did, few knew the words, and I cried.
Yet, there was my father, with his Parkinson’s standing, saluting, hands trembling.
Our veterans, who put their lives on the line for us in numerous wars, working to uphold their oath “to protect the Constitution,” were forgotten by 99% of Americans.
Oh, we want those rights, heck, we demand them and expect them â€“ but do we say â€˜thank youâ€™ â€“ on the one day of the year dedicated to doing just that? No. Americans spend the day at the lake, doing yard work, or watching television marathons.
Things much more important than remembering those who died for us, yes?
What do you mean, â€˜noâ€™?
Then where were you?
Where was your family?
Where was your neighbor?
What happened to the crowds of people who used to come out and cheer for our veterans?
When did it become more important to jet ski than to thank a veteran?
Kerry Waters is a long time Lansing resident and the owner of Maid in Lansing, but, for this piece she is just her father’s daughter and an American.