Mike Rowe on the Meaning of Memorial Day
There are a lot of memes floating around social media complaining about/mocking people who say "Happy" Memorial Day, or who don't seem to know the difference between today and Veterans Day. Someone asked Mike Rowe for his thoughts, likely due to Mike's habit of dropping truth hammers on a fairly regular basis (see Mike Rowe Schools Media on ‘Undesirable Jobs’ Again. And It’s Perfect… and Mike Rowe Mocks Obama’s Anti-Gun Narrative. And it’s Perfect…).
The tendency to conflate Veteran’s Day with Memorial Day is unfortunate, but I don’t think it poses a threat to our country. The real threat, in my opinion, is the gap between those Americans who appreciate our military, and those who do not. Personally, if I were to “correct” someone this weekend, I’d focus my disapproval on those standing guard by their BBQ’s and lounging by their pools with no clue as to why they’ve been afforded a long weekend. In other words, I’d be far more offended by a lack of gratitude, than a simple misunderstanding among the well-intended.
One of the biggest threats facing the country, is the degree to which the average American has become disconnected from The Armed Forces. Most Americans today don’t have a personal relationship with anyone in uniform. Statistically, that’s understandable; less than one percent of the population actually wears one. But that’s no excuse for the breathtaking ignorance of what our men and women in uniform do on our behalf.
A majority of Americans today can’t look at a map and identify the countries where our people are currently fighting and dying. Many can’t even identify the branches of the military, or explain the relevance of the wars we’ve fought, or the importance of the freedoms we enjoy as a result. Wars today require zero sacrifice from the civilian population, and therefore zero understanding. Zero understanding leads to zero awareness. Zero awareness leads to zero gratitude. And zero gratitude is a clear and present danger to our many freedoms.
This is the quote to really think about...
If I were to allow myself to get offended by anything this weekend, that’s the thing I’d rail against - the monumental indifference among those who take our freedoms for granted.
Something to keep in mind as you're listening to people at BBQs today. Also, if I may contribute something anecdotal. I have a hoodie that I wear to the gym. It's pretty simple. It can be bought at 1776 clothing. It's black, with the signers of the Declaration of Independence written across the front. Here it is.
Like I said, it's a gym shirt. It's also an incredible conversation starter. I've been approached dozens of times from people who love the sweatshirt and asked me where I've gotten it. Invariably, without fail, every single one of those people has been Conservative/right wing. Anecdotal? Of course. But what are the chances of not a single liberal going out of their way to compliment a patriotic sweater, while countless Conservatives feel compelled to? Maybe, just maybe, it's for the exact same reason that leftists on Twitter equate ignorant old "patriotism" with the Republican party (read more about that here).
Sure, there are good people on both sides of the aisle. But as a demographic, there is one side of the political spectrum today where patriotism and appreciation of the American military is met with scoffs and upturned noses. It comes almost entirely from the left. It is so consistent that the moment someone compliments me on a "Declaration of Independence" sweater, I can immediately brand them "Conservative" with 99% accuracy. How sad is that?
But what do you expect from people who don't think America is anything special?