Honor the Sacrifice Even if You Can’t Honor the Sentiment

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Today, I thought about doing a post about Memorial Day outfit inspiration. But I decided that like most holidays, the meaning of Memorial Day is growing farther and farther away from us.

As someone so fiercely patriotic, it’s easy to say “land of the free because of the brave.” It’s easy to post sentimental videos and info graphics to social media. It’s easy to wear red white and blue.

But what kind of comfort is a recent widow given by a cliche (but true, and appropriate) quote? What comfort is a parent that’s lost a child given by a picture of a golden retriever holding an American flag? What does a Memorial Day OOTD do for a child orphaned by war?

I think that most civilians recognize that the reality of war is something they’ll probably never fully understand. People are changed by war, and while some are able to readjust, others return mere shadows of who they once were, if at all. As much as proud Americans like myself would like to think that everyone in the military make a sacrifice of selflessness for something they may not always agree with or understand because of their boundless love for old glory and what she represents, but the truth is often more complicated. The truth isn’t always the Chris Kyle story. Sometimes it’s the story of someone who forgot what they were fighting for.

I think that this Memorial Day, it’s important to remember that what we celebrate today is more than an idea or a spirit, it’s millions of individual names and stories and loved one left behind. And as we commemorate the ultimate sacrifice, we can’t selectively remember the lives we’ve lost, or their legacies. We must honor those that protected and served honorably, no matter how much their perspectives differ from our own.

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