Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

So which one is Memorial Day?
By Sgt. Jerome Bishop

Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Not long ago while I was sitting at my desk at work, a Soldier presented an interesting question, not because of what it was, but what made it interesting is why it was asked.

"So what's Memorial Day, again?" the Soldier asked.

This kind of disturbed me. As it turns out, the confusion came from the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. While both are federal holidays to remember our nation's service members past and present, only one commemorates the living.

The one that doesn't is May 26, the last Monday in May. That one would be Memorial Day. I just never thought I'd have to explain that to someone.

When Memorial Day comes around, a lot of thoughts rush to mind. Memories of picnics with the family, maybe catching the Indianapolis 500 Indy car race with a cold beverage in hand or enjoying the sun at a nearby public pool that just opened for the summer – all of which are easily recognizable traits of Memorial Day. All the while, the true meaning of Memorial Day remains hidden in the back of our mind – if it's even there at all.

Commemoration ceremonies and remembrances take place all over the United States on Memorial Day. We all know it's a holiday. It's a day off work, and it's got something to do with wars. Most people my age won't be seen at events like those. I know I've never been to my town's festivities – not often at least.

Four years ago, I would have been the last one to say I wanted to take time during the day commonly referred to as the beginning of summer to fill my head with sad memories of how too many of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, never made it home. That was then.

Three years ago, I was about 60 kilometers north of here on Logistical Support Area Anaconda near Balad for Memorial Day, and this year, I'm in Baghdad.

To me and a lot of other servicemembers braving the sand, heat and bullets in Iraq, Memorial Day carries a new meaning – to remember not those servicemembers we only knew by the name on their tombstone at Arlington, but the ones whom we've shared meals and laughs with while trying to make the best of discomfort.

I'm fortunate enough to say I haven't lost a friend over here, but as my job takes me from unit to unit, the list of acquaintances grows – and more than a few might not make it home.

Three years ago, I knew Memorial Day would have a whole new meaning for me – and it truly does – because it could just as easily have been my name stretched across a banner for home town heroes lost in battle.

One day, I'm sure I'll hear that question again: “Which one is Memorial Day?” or something of the sort. Unlike most people, I'll have a unique story to tell – just as we all do.

Edit:our dad didn't write this but we thought it was so good we has to share it with you all.


  1. Peanut and Flash
    Please tell youw Dad THANKYOU,THANK YOU fwom the bottom of ouw heawts and
    we pway that he comes home safe and sound to all of you
    ASTA and Mommi and Daddi

  2. Happy Memorial Day!


  3. Well said. This is a day to remember all who have given and are giving in the name of freedom. We hope that they all come home safe and sound very soon.

  4. We're thinking of your daddy today, Peanut and Flash! Happy Memorial day!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  5. Peanut & Flash,
    Your dad is our hero!

    Thank you P & F's Dad!!!

  6. Peanuts and Family....Please tell your dad thank you, not just for the letter, but for everything he and his friends are doing.

    gussie and muzzer

  7. Well, we don't know much about other countries' holidays -apart from Anzac Day - so it is good to learn. And to remember those people who gave everything.

    Pippa and Kate

  8. You have a very special daddy - it really does make you think - your dad is tops with us!

  9. Peanut, Flash,

    We've been thinking about what Memorial Day means too -- Mom and Dogdad never go shopping or do other things that seem to disrespect the meaning of the day.

    Please tell your Dad that we think of him and all our soldiers not just today, but every day.

    Now for some other news: Flash, you are our Goody Exchange partner. Since we don't know you as well as we know Peanut, we scrolled down and looked at some of your posts. You have a few things in common with Just Harry -- he'll be 4 in September -- the day we rescued him is the day we count as his barkday -- and he was about 9 months that blessed day. Sadly though, he doesn't have a girl friend the way you do.

    Anyway, we'll be looking for things you might like - and if you have any special wishes -- let us know!!!

    Your pals,

    Jake and Just Harry

    (I think we have your address from the Christmas Exchange -- unless you've moved.)

  10. Peanut and Flash,
    That was a great blog your daddy did today!! We at our house are SO happy he is protecting us. Our daddy was a Marine for 8 years. We love service men/women.
    I wanted to stop by and say hi. Dawson is our internation buddy and we have been reading up on him. In do so.....there you 2 are so of course we HAD to come meet you.
    Aire snuggles,
    Willow the Black Dale

  11. Excellent article, Peanut. Thanks for sharing it with us!
    May we NEVER forget the sacrifices made for us!
    Tail wags,

  12. A very informative letter. Thank you for sharing it.

    We stopped over from the Ao4 after reading your comment.

  13. Peanut my friend,

    Yahoo!! I got your name in the gift exchange. I am soooooo excited!!! Could ya please have your Mommy e-mail the Mommy with your address and some ideas for what ya like...I'm gonna go back and read some more of your posts to get some ideas.

    I'm ready to go to PetsMart right now!!

    Love ya Mona @

    PS. We all should remember our fallen heroes & those still with us that served on country like they do. Thanks sp much for sharing this post with us.

  14. Hi, Peanut!
    Thanks for sharing it!
    We were thinking of you Dad today!
    Kisses and hugs

  15. Peanut, both of our servants think of your dad and how brave he is and your MOM and how brave she has to be, every single day.. They're wierd that way.

    wags from the whippets

  16. What a great letter, thanks for sharing this.

  17. Thanks, Peanut, for this letter; it was a great reminder of what memorial day is all about. We are proud of your dad and others like him who are protecting us.