On the eleventh day of November at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour we will stop whatever it is we’re doing and for two minutes will remember the service men and women who gave their lives in service to their country. We will remember them singly and collectively and honor them for their ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. Having done so, we’ll go about our business again.
Well, theoretically, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But now we have the government debating whether we should make this a national holiday. Really? REALLY? Just what is that supposed to imply? Who in the department of Stupid thought that up? Are we really supposed to have a holiday in the midst of the armed forces laying wreaths at cenotaphs, march pasts and parades to honor their fallen brothers and sisters? Is that how we honor those who have sacrificed their lives on our behalf? Oh sure, the people in the military and the families of those being remembered will remember, that stands to reason. But what about the rest of us? What are we supposed to do, go bowling?
Respect! Let’s start with respect. Perhaps we should commemorate a special day for respect. Of all the things we seem to have lost in this whole business of paying homage to our fallen brothers and sisters is respect. We don’t have to believe in the causes they went to war for or even that they had a choice or not to decide. But we should respect their right to do so and their families in their grief for the ones lost.
I remember a time during WWII when there was soldiers, seamen an’ airmen everywhere you looked. They was in train stations, on buses, on the streets – everywhere. Mind you, that was a big war, not like these mini “police actions” we have today. But there was respect. Even among the service men. Mind you, with them it was either respect or court martial (not a bad idea). Well, even funerals if you can imagine. If a funeral procession was goin’ by, you automatically stopped, removed your cap or hat an placed it over your heart and stood still while the procession drove by. There was never a question about it. That was respect, pure an’ simple.
These days though, ever since advent of the “Me” generation, respect has taken on a whole new meaning. It has become an entitlement rather than an obligation, something to be received rather than given. In other words, whatever we do or say should be respected by everybody else, regardless of what it is. OH, REALLY! It’s high time for an attitude adjustment, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.