Did you miss someone on Memorial Day? You can be excused if you did, as these particular heroes and heroines may be invisible. Perhaps it’s because they are part of our lives — the health care workers and first responders that are there for us each and every day. But the COVID crisis is a game changer. The doctors, nurses, aides, EMS workers and the cops on the beat face a clear and present danger, yet they do not hesitate to come to our aid despite the deadly threat of infection.
Ordinarily, the purpose of the Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military—especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But the honor roll has been expanded this year. It’s not official but the pandemic has created a new class of warriors to whom we should pay tribute: those who die on the front lines in the war against this new, inhuman and devilishly lethal threat.
These “civilians” are not conscripts; they are volunteers who didn’t hesitate to come to our rescue despite the clear and present danger posed by the disease. This is not your run-of-the-mill flu. It’s a plague that is highly contagious, less than six-feet-apart contagious. Yet they don’t hesitate to get up close and personal to come to the rescue.
So many health care workers, police officers and fire fighters who have tested positive for coronavirus as a result of their readiness to come to the aid of those who suffer from the disease that there is no official count. But, you can be sure that many thousands of them have, in fact, fallen ill and too many of them have died. States have been reporting infection rates as high as 20% among physicians, nurses, assistants, technicians, orderlies, administrators, volunteers, drivers, porters, EMTs, police and firefighters.
Bear in mind that while these men and women — first responders, all — may appear to be stout and strong as they stoically go about their work but they are just as vulnerable as you and me.
Dr. Jessica Gold put it this way in an article in STATE magazine recently: “They inspire us as they go to work every day, at great personal risk, to keep others safe. But, as a psychiatrist, I spend much of my life observing and listening — I know that their calm surface appearance is the only armor they have left. Underneath it, many health care workers are barely keeping it together. They are anxious and they are afraid. They aren’t sleeping and they find themselves crying more than usual. The overall feeling in my friends, family, and co-workers is one of an impending doom and an existing gloom that is both physically and psychologically palpable.”
Many of us were out playing with our kids and grandkids as the nation observed Memorial Day last Monday. We’ll probably ate a little too much. We celebrated the non-official beginning of summer. We are a resourceful people and surely we were able to find a way to party despite self-isolation, face masks and gloves But we are also a grateful nation that remembers the sacrifices of our armed forces and our unarmed protectors on the front lines of the war against a new insidious enemy — COVID-19.
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No. Memorial Day is to honor those military personnel who paid the ultimate price for the USA.
To lump medical personnel and first responders in with those fallen military personnel is a slap in the face to those military personnel.
To your question to add first responders to the memorial; NO!
Now you remember just what the day is for.
It started as decoration – putting decorations on deceases military of the wars.
The name was changed but the remembered was increased to the deceased of ALL wars
Being a Vietnam Vet, I may get a flag on my grave when I am gone. I accept that, as we were not
Welcomed home, when we returned.
You may say that we get acknowledged today. Let me help your memory.
Returning service members of more current conflicts were welcomed home.
Thanks to the Vietnam Vets starting it = We will not let returning troops to be ignored!
When they found out who did that, they took up the effort.
Clinton R (Bob) Weiser, RVN 67-68
Also a member
Memorial Day is for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in service to their country. Memorial day is not to honor the living. We have other days, such as veterans day, for the living that have served their country. Please get it correct.
So if first responders, or anyone for that matter, give their life in service to their country, why not memorialize them too?
I don’t agree with adding others to the Memorial Day rememberance. This was meant for those fallen in war. If we are to recognize and remember those fallen First Responders then establish another holiday for them.
You are kidding? Why not just dilute the remembrance of those killed in combat like every other value we have/had? I know, how about an “American taxpayer that pays for EVERYTHING and gets credit for NOTHING day”?
Oh, and why do you ask me for my emaill address when you sent me the email I am replying to. Do you take pleasure in annoying your membership?
Respectfully, no. Memorial Day was established and intended to observe those who have served and gone before us. Doctors, nurses, EMS, law enforcement and fire services are only some of the vitally important responders who have led the fight against Covid…but that does not alter what Memorial Day is.
A day of observance for first and even support responders who help ensure the others can effectively and successfully accomplish their missions would be fine, but again, not Memorial Day.
Civil response includes countless people, each of their roles critical. Thank you to each of them for their efforts in response to Covid and the countless other emergencies, large and small that they bravely address every day.
Memorial Day is meant to honor those that gave their LIVES while in the military fighting for our freedom. We need to keep it that way. Everyone is a hero these days, so the word is losing its importance.
Sorry AMAC. Memorial Day is to “remember” or to “memorialize” those who have DIED to make this great nation and to keep it free. Maybe include medical folks in with other “First Responders” on Sept. 11 commemorations. But please, please, don’t dilute Memorial Day any more than it has been.
NO, Memorial day is for war Dead. Veterans day is for living. Create a seperate day for workers dealing with covid. Health care, as well as grocery, truckers, etc.
NO! No, Not a good idea. Memorial Day is for the MILITARY HEROS . They deserve their own day of Recognition and Remembrance!!
As much as I appreciate and honor their contribution and all they have done, they already have their own times to be celebrated.
Jan 9th, National Law Enforcement Day
May 4th, National Fire Fighters DatMay 12,, international Nurses Day
May 17 – 23, National EMT Week
Oct. 28, National First Responders Day
A memorial is for someone who died. Memorial Day is a sacred day of remembrance for those who died fighting for our freedoms. It should not be diluted with add-ons.
When I was a kid we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. They served a purpose, to remember those great men. Then they were made meaningless by inventing “President’s Day” and making it a Monday, just another excuse for a long weekend. Memorial Day should be left alone, and Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday (and Columbus Day!) should be brought back.
As I went back and reread this article, I was in disbelief that the CEO of AMAC doesn’t even know the history and purpose of Memorial Day. As a new subscriber, I have a problem with someone heading up an organization for mature adults without having her facts straight regarding such a basic part of our military and country’s history. Regrettable article.
Horrible! This day was established so long ago, for 1 purpose, to honor those who died in service to our country’s military. To even think about changing this purpose is so blase and disrespectful. Shame on you.
I have to wonder that the writer of this article that suggests weakening the meaning of Memorial Day is also the president of AMAC, an organization of which I have heretofore been a happy member.
No way! Memorial day is to remember the price of the freedoms that we so easily take for granted. Men and women died to provide this freedom for us. While healthcare workers and first respoders are special and caring people who often save lives there is no comparison to those who have been through war. Please don’t dilute this special day. By adding unrelated items the day becomes less and less effective until it is just a day off from work that nobody understands.
I guess I misunderstood. I thought the purpose of Memorial Day was the same as that of the former Decoration Day. I grew up thinking that the purpose of Decoration Day was to honor those who GAVE THEIR LIVES in the armed services of their country. I never envisioned it to be anything else. I also thought that the holiday that we honor those who SERVED in the armed services was called Veterans Day. I can see reasons to honor others who risk their well-being and their lives in other pursuits to serve others in their communities, but I do not see the need to tie that to a Federal Holiday that has another purpose.
And NO! Covid 19 is a disease that the media and some politicians have transformed into a game-changer. Why should we feel any different about those who choose to expose themselves to Covid 19 than to those who exposed themselves to malaria, polio, any or any other infectious and potentially deadly disease?
Memorial Day is not for health care or first responders. Give them their own day. What is wrong with you. Meomorial Day is specific for those in the armed forces WHO DIED fighting serving the United States of America. How dare you take that away from those who gave up there lives defending America
Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military—those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Vetetans Day is to honor those who currently serve to protect us.. LET’S LEAVE IT AS IT IS INTENDED and honor those first responders etc. on a special day and not take away the honor due our millitary who defended this great nation….even some of our veterans are homeless and forgotten.. Please don’t take away the one day devoted to them.. please
Please, Don’t hijack either of these combat veterans Remembrance Days by adding/equating those who don’t qualify. Memorial Day is for those who died in combat. Veterans Day is for those who served and continue to served in our military forces.
Promote a First Responders Day Or whatever to honor them.