It is interestingly ironic, and poetic, that the celebrations around Memorial Day are typically family gatherings, local parades, and relaxation among loved ones. As a remembrance of service people who gave ultimate sacrifice in honoring that call to serve, it only seems fitting that we spend the day enjoying carefree activities that exemplify American style freedom. I mean those that died in service did so defending that freedom.
I always think of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address when I think of Memorial Day. I know it wasn't presented on Memorial Day. Especially this last part:
"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
People that serve, serve with a purpose. There's no other way to look at it. Even if someone only serves just to get money for education, they still serve. In doing so they all take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies - foreign and domestic. It's a big deal to make that promise. By the same token we owe it to those making it, that what they're sent to do in that service honors the spirit of service captured - in my estimation - in the Gettysburg Address.
I've seen the photo on social media more times than I can count of the Marine handing a small boy the flag from his father's casket. War is the most vile, and extreme form of politics. Unfortunately the decisions around it are made by politicians, and they - regardless of affiliation - are nothing more than water boys. Whomever they're carrying water for influences that, and that's wrong. Every future kid, spouse, mom, dad, brother and sister are owed by we citizens that future sacrifices are done for that freedom and only that freedom. That's our obligation as American citizens. People that promise to defend deserve nothing less.