I always worry that students in school look forward to Memorial Day as a day off of school, unless they are already enjoying a summer break, in which case it may be just another day. The foundations of wisdom, that which we hope to instill in our next generations beyond what they can learn in a book or via Google and YouTube, are found in our history. It is an unfortunate reality that much of human history, and certainly the mistakes from which we can learn, are written in the blood of misguided conflict. But that is where the lessons are.
The Greatest Generation is passing quickly; my father who was a Marine Corps aviator in the Pacific during WW II passed away about seven years ago, and very few of his number are still alive. But I remember him telling us of parades in New York when he was a child where the last veterans of the Civil War still marched. So our history is very much alive for us if we choose to access and share it with the next generation.
If you are in school tomorrow, make some time for the students to research or tell some stories of friends and relative who have served in the military. Some of the conflicts in which they served will be judged harshly by history, while others are already judged as the salvation of the world. Memorial Day is a time not to judge history, but to recognize those who sacrificed, or were sacrificed, in a history that is all-too-often written in conflict.