Monday, May 26, 2003

What Memorial Day Means To Me
By Jessica Delfino

I notice it’s raining on Memorial Day – millions of tears falling for the millions of men who died or even just hurt their foot fighting for this country.

I could never set myself out to die fighting for anything and that makes me think about what I mean to the grand scheme. Could I? And what do I mean, anyway?

I think about it – there are a lot of things that are important to me. Candy. Certain programs on the television. Being able to chainsmoke marijuana cigarettes discreetly through a one hitter disguised as a tube of lipstick. But would I fight for these things? Would I put my life on the line, as they say, to maintain the ability to do them?

This day is to remember people who died fighting for something just as important as candy, and maybe even more so. You know what they died for. Come on, you know…..

I used to have a friend in Maine who pronounced freedom, “fweedom.”
“Dewe aw pepohl who died fighting foh aw fweedom.”
“There are people who died fighting for our freedom?”
“Dat’s what I said, “Fweedom. Be quiet, shhh.”

My friends planned a barbeque today, partially to remember freedom and stuff, but I have a feeling mostly to celebrate our right to eat hotdogs and chicken. One thing I can relate to most of all with every American holiday is the eating ritual. It makes holidays cooler.

My grandfather died a few days ago. Like many people’s peepaw’s, pop pops, grampoos, and ging gaws, he was a world war II veteran. He was also an intense atheist. When he died, we were informed that he was given a plot in the Florida war vet graveyard for he and his wife. My grandmother turned it down. He told her he didn’t want a funeral. It’s not that he didn’t care about his family, it’s just that he didn’t want god coming to the party. Even in the end, when the doctor who doubled as a priest, tried to have someone come and read my grandfather his last rites, my grampa told his doctor to get the hell out of his room and called him a bum. I think he learned that kind of behavior from his war buddies. He certainly picked up the smoking habit that led to Emphysema and did him in during wartime.

What does Memorial Day mean to me? It means I get a day off of work. It means I get to sleep in. It means I get to eat some tasty meats. Now, it means I miss my grandfather. But most of all, I guess it means I have the right to celebrate all these things. And that’s worth walking to the subway in the rain. I won’t even bring an umbrella, the least I can do is let those tears fall on me. No, I’ll probably bring an umbrella. But, thanks, guys. Thanks, grampa.

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