Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

The handsome young man on the left is my dad, Bill Morrissey; the handsome young man on the right is Toni's dad, Mario Zarantonello. They both served in the big war. Dad served in Europe and in the Army of Occupation in Japan; Mario served in the Pacific. Dad was Army combat infantry, and Mario crewed on a B-29 in the Army Air Force. Both made it back home alive to start their own businesses and be successful family men.

In November, on Veteran's Day, I'm going to write a long post about their service.

But today is dedicated to the memory of the many men and women my dad and Mario served with who didn't make it back alive; and the many other soldiers, sailors, and marines who paid the ultimate price.

It seems a lot of people these days think Memorial Day and Veteran's Day are interchangeable or are the same thing. The distinction between the two holidays has been blurred by, among other things, a generation of broadcasters who don't know the difference and haven't been corrected.

They think today is a day set aside to honor all men and women in uniform, and not to specifically honor those who were killed in battle.

That's OK, I guess. I have no problem with anyone who takes time to honor those who serve their nation in the military for any reason.

Folks my age...and I turn 62 tomorrow....remember the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day because when we were kids, Memorial Day was called "Decoration Day", and it meant going to the cemetery to decorate the graves of soldiers who'd given their lives for their nation.

We knew the difference between a parade and a procession, another distinction which has been sort of lost in the shuffle.

You'll seldom hear folks my age say "Happy Memorial Day" because there's not much that's happy about observing the death of so many people - and, let's face it, mainly young people - who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Ours is the only house in our neighborhood that has the flag flying on this beautiful day. Not too many years ago, there would have been a lot more flags flying.

To those who gave their lives in the line of duty, thank you; rest in peace.


  1. Caffeinated Politics claims that we honor the dead from dawn to noon, and then honor the living from noon 'till sundown. First I heard of that myself, but he seems pretty sure about it.

    A friend UpNorth told me that her daughter's gradeschool class took a field trip to put flags on the graves of Veterans last week. For such a sad thing, it still made me smile.

    (PS- Small typo alert; you said "on the left" for both men.)

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