On Memorial Day every year the three veterans organizations hold a memorial service both at the Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor and Sunnyside in Coupeville. Many of us veterans take the time to put on a suit and attend these services and even participate. Each year I see less and less people attending these services. The handful that I do see there are well into their 50’s and it saddens my heart, that in a military town like Oak Harbor, we can’t get more than a handful of people to come out and show their appreciation for our service members whom have paid the supreme sacrifice for this country, especially in this time of war.
It was refreshing to see one active duty service member, in uniform, attending. Our service members are dying on a daily basis in a war that not all agree with, but a war just the same. We have become complacent as to what this weekend is all about. It’s not about loading the camper, or hooking up the boat, stocking the beer coolers and cooking the meat, it’s about those who have served and died for the freedoms we as Americans enjoy today.
Maybe Congress should move Memorial Day to a Wednesday, rather than a Monday, so that we won’t treat it as a holiday, but as it was designated, a day of remembrance.
I am thoroughly ashamed of my fellow veterans and the communities of Oak Harbor and Coupeville for the simple fact that they can’t take two hours out of this particular weekend to remember our fallen heroes and comrades. It doesn’t mean that you support the war effort or that you condone war, it simply means that you support your troops and respect what they have done for you.
Hopefully I will still be around for next year’s services, and you can bet I won’t be out camping, so that I can join my fellow veterans in paying my respects. I, for one, appreciate what they have given so that I can go camping, float the boat or just have a barbecue.
Perhaps next year you can pack up early at the campground and drive back to Oak Harbor to be in time for the ceremonies which begin every year at 10 a.m. And show your thanks for being able to camp, barbecue, fish, etc., for those three or four days. Show up in your camping clothes, it doesn’t matter to them. God bless our troops and keep them safe.
Pete Sill lives in Oak Harbor.