For some, Memorial Day marks the first unofficial day of summer — a day to celebrate in the backyard or at the beach, maybe in a bathing suit painted to resemble an American flag.
For many others, like those who have known one or more of the thousands of soldiers who have died since the beginning of the “War on Terror” — Memorial Day is a day of reflection, a time to remember their fallen brothers, sisters, cousins, or even mothers and fathers.
Still others will remember their grandmothers and grandfathers, or even ancestors further down the line, perhaps among the 750,000 killed during the Civil War; 405,399 killed during World War II; 116,516 during World War I; or the 58,209 who lost their life in Vietnam. No matter your stance on politics, it can’t be denied that these thousands of soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice in service for our country — for that, they should be honored.
For many Scotland County residents, the day meant placing flags at the graves of fallen comrades who have been laid to rest locally or attending the annual ceremony held by the Scotland County Veterans’ Council and the American Legion Post 50.
For President Donald Trump, Memorial Day seems to mean something much different.
In a tweet Monday, the president causally wished the nation a “Happy Memorial Day.”
Trump, who was able to obtained five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, went on to say that “those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”
Well, not so nice.
Wishing a “happy” holiday to those remembering their deceased loved ones and promoting yourself on a day set aside to honor those who sacrificed themselves for others was both crass and tone-deaf.
Retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it best.
“This day, of all days of the year, should not be about any one of us,” Dempsey wrote. “No matter how prestigious or powerful, no matter how successful we perceive ourselves to be. Rather, this day should be about those who gave their lives so that we could live ours in freedom.”