Posted by Curt on 29 May, 2017 at 10:55 am. 2 comments already!


Ed Morrissey:

Americans take one day out of the year to remember its fallen and missing heroes — the men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion for their country and for freedom. Every Memorial Day, we take stock not just of what we’ve lost, and not just of what we’ve secured through their sacrifice, but also what we may be forgetting. Each Memorial Day seems to disappear a little further into a generic holiday, and CBS News reports that the families of the fallen and veterans’ groups are beginning to worry more and more that the meaning is getting lost:

Allison Jaslow heard it more than once as the long holiday weekend approached — a cheerful “Happy Memorial Day!” from oblivious well-wishers.

The former Army captain and Iraq War veteran had a ready reply, telling them, matter-of-factly, that she considered it a work weekend. Jaslow will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to take part in the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She’ll then visit Section 60, the final resting place of many service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You can see it in people’s faces that they’re a little horrified that they forget this is what the day’s about,” said Jaslow, 34, who wears a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen comrade. “Culturally, we’ve kind of lost sight of what the day’s supposed to mean.”

What’s the reason for the cultural ignorance? CBS also provides a pretty good answer:

“It’s a fun holiday for people: ‘Let’s party.’ It’s an extra day off from work,” said Carol Resh, 61, whose son, Army Capt. Mark Resh, was killed in Iraq a decade ago. “It’s not that they’re doing it out of malice. It just hasn’t affected them.”

Veterans groups say a growing military-civilian disconnect contributes to a feeling that Memorial Day has been overshadowed. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population served in the armed forces during World War II. That’s down to less than one-half of a percent today, guaranteeing more Americans aren’t personally acquainted with a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

That fall in personal connections comes in large part from the ending of the draft more than forty years ago. World War II was as close to a total mobilization as this country has ever seen, with volunteer service and the draft combining to send a big percentage of able-bodied young men into uniform. The draft continued until nearly the end of the Vietnam War; the last draft took place in February 1972, and eleven months later the Department of Defense announced the end of drafts. Gerald Ford formally eliminated the draft in 1975, and the US transitioned to an all-volunteer military.

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