For some, summer comes at a small price: Attending a Memorial Day service, with a few moments’ reflection on service and sacrifice, renders the remainder of the summer carefree. Out of sight, out of mind, those conflicting emotions about vigilance and violence, protectionism and patriotism, who went to war and who never came home.
War and combat are very different now from even a generation ago. Voluntary enlistment and drone warfare have made it easy for the average civilian to gloss over our discomfort about threats to our freedom and our unease about how we address them. Enemies are not readily identifiable by nationality. Our most virulent enemy is not a nation at all but a hate-filled swarm that has sworn to destroy Western civilization.
The pause at Memorial Day, however brief, is not just for enriching or justifying our summer kickoff, but for acknowledging that the freedom we enjoy has come at a great price, paid in no small measure by those whose service in the armed forces helped forge our freedom.