Did you know that Memorial Day wasn't established to honor those who serve, but to honor those who lost their lives while serving? In fact, the day was originally named Decoration Day and was intended to be a day to decorate the graves of fallen heroes.
When I learned about this history (just today), it made me think about how many other things we have misunderstood over the years. Because when you don't know, you don't know. As the daughter of an Air Force pilot I lived on military bases for many of my childhood years. I also saw POW-MIA decals on the backs of many cars; but I never asked what these decals represented, so I spent more years than I would like to admit, believing that POW-MIA was a band. (Crazy, I know.) Then at some point I heard someone use the phrase, "Prisoner of war, missing in action" and I put it together. Finally.
All that to say, that's sort of how I felt today when I read this opinion piece. And even though I sort of knew why we celebrate Memorial Day, I finally got it—and I finally understood why this day is different from Veterans Day, and why it's sort of odd to wish someone a "Happy Memorial Day," and why it's important to take time to remember the lives of those who lived—and died—to protect my freedom.