Tales from the Mark Side:  The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

Please take a moment today to honor our fallen warriors


By Mark Young



I know you’ll find this to be absolutely shocking, but I’m a bit of a cynical guy when it comes to humans.

Seriously though, that statement is never more true on Memorial Day because even though I know there are millions of Americans who understand, and pay homage to its meaning, I also know there are millions of Americans who have no clue what Memorial Day means.

I mean that literally because you can google these man-on-the-street videos of people being asked if they know what is the reason for a Memorial Day holiday, and the lack of knowledge of this basic understanding is sickening.

I cringe when I hear people say, “Happy Memorial Day,” or a Facebook post saying, “Yay, 3-day weekend.” It leaves me wondering what they are thinking.

If you simply mean you are “happy” to have a long weekend without giving a single thought to why you will enjoy a little extra time with family and friends around the BBQ grill, then it makes me sad.

If you mean you are taking a moment to be happy for all you have because brave American men and women were willing to sacrifice their lives for you to enjoy your BBQ, then that gives me hope.

Yes, my steaks are marinating, the American flag is firmly in place on the front of my house, I’m preparing my famous mac-n-cheese and the vodka is chilling in the freezer.

My whole notion of “celebrating” on this day is to give thanks to those American warriors who paid the price of freedom.

I invite lost brothers and sisters to stand at my side as I flip the steaks. I toast their sacrifice and I take a few minutes to myself to bow my head and pray for their peace. Then I solemnly pour a shot of vodka onto the American soil at my feet in their honor.

I know many of you do as well. But like I said, I know many do not. They are just “happy” to have that extra day off. They grill, eat, drink and laugh with their friends without giving a single thought to our lost warriors.

And that thought makes me sick. That is what makes me cringe when I see “Happy Memorial Day” postings on Facebook with pictures of food on the grill. Did they give those fallen warriors even a minute of thought?

I know I probably put too much thought into this particular subject, but it’s just that important to me.

I admit it’s those thoughts of Americans who don’t understand what Memorial Day really means, or worse, don’t even care, that puts me in a dark mood in the days preceding Memorial Day.

It saddens me because I know it’s more reality than what it should be. You can see how many people are like that.

Look at how many people attend the Veterans Day Parade in Palmetto, but watch the crowd disappear when it comes time for the actual Veterans Day ceremony.

And there is a big difference between the two days. Veterans Day honors all those who served. Memorial Day honors the fallen. It’s the one day living veterans don’t like to hear, “Thank you for your service.”

No, thank you to those who gave all.

You can also see it at other events, as well. As few who actually stick around for a Veterans Day ceremony, an equally small number attend Memorial Day ceremonies. Even fewer attend the annual National Law Enforcement Memorial Day.

And yet, these law enforcement officers also gave their lives in protection of their communities. It’s sad how little some people care, and yes, infuriating when it comes to those sick people in our country who are anti-law enforcement and anti-military.

So if this visit with you on this solemn day seems a little darker than normal, well, that’s just where my head is this time of year.

That’s because I know there are just too many so-called Americans whose ungrateful behavior this weekend leaves unsettling images in my mind. Images of warrior souls spilling ghostly tears down their cheeks and questioning whether their sacrifice was really worth it for so many to not even give them a moment’s thought one day a year.

But I’m confident that is not the case here. I’m confident that my fellow Patriots get it. It’s usually by the end of the day after I pay tribute to our fallen in my own way, that I do come to understand that most Americans feel as I do.

I start to feel better and the haunting images that plague me leading up to Memorial Day of fallen warriors crying change to more peaceful images.

I remember again that you can’t please everyone. Lord knows that I understand that just in the world of opinion writing. I also remember that our fallen didn’t sacrifice for the idiots in this country.

They sacrificed for their brothers and sisters on the front lines. They sacrificed for their families back home. And their sacrifice has clearly not been in vain because we do have this day, and every other, to keep living our best lives.

So in closing, I offer this little prayer I found:

“Loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace.

Let the sounds of strife, the cries of battle, the wounds of war be calmed for all eternity in Your loving and endless grace.

Let these great warriors find rest at last,

Ever reminded that we who are left behind

Cherish their spirit, honor their commitment,

send them our love, and will never forget the service that they gave.”


That, my friends, sums up Memorial Day better than I ever could. As always my fellow Patriots, stay vigilant, stay aware and stay informed.


By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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