Veterans Day in November honors those living who have served in the military. The lesser celebrated Armed Forces Day, also in May, celebrates those currently on active duty in our armed services. As the United States Census Bureau states, "Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in service to their country." In fact this is only partially true.
Memorial Day honors service men and women who died serving our country and also civilians who actively worked in support of the military. But there are others not in uniform on the front lines who lose their lives defending our nation. Memorial Day does not honor diplomats, CIA agents, and others who die in the line of duty. For example, between the Vietnam War and the Gulf War, the United States lost more diplomats in the line of duty than those in our military. The U.S. Department of State has one day, Foreign Affairs Day, to honor active diplomats, retired officers, and those who have fallen. The CIA also has a separate memorial day.
From a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam to a downed plane in its skies, to terrorist bombings, to events never made public, we are fortunate to have brave men and women willing to put their lives on the line to preserve our nation and our freedoms. Memorial Day is a day to remember.
Image by Charles Thompson. Obtained from https://pixabay.com/photos/veteran-cemetery-flag-memorial-1885567/
© John Ballard, PhD, 2023. All rights reserved.