The Nostalgia of Remembrance

As we all start to gear up for the long weekend I wanted to share some of my memories of Memorial Day. My name is Shane Cooke and I am the proud son of a Marine, and the Director of Communications and Outreach at COSF. I hope you take a moment to read what Memorial Day means to me.

The Nostalgia of Remembrance...

As Friday rolls around this Memorial Day weekend, school kids everywhere will struggle to pay attention in class. For me, I was always way too busy daydreaming about the local pool opening, or mentally preparing for a camping trip with my parents to listen to Mrs. Wrecker talk about civics. The only thing I remember being on my mind in 5th period was the fact that I wouldn't have to go to school on Monday. As for my mom, although she would never have admitted it, she was probably in a similar state as she rode out the rest of the work week. My dad, if he wasn't at 30,000 feet turning off the fasten seat belt sign, was usually preparing to make his classic dinner of cheese quesadillas (a dish which infuriated my mother because it lacked a vegetable- “Uh that’s what the salsa is for mom”). Sometimes we would all pack into the family suburban and actually go on that camping trip, but most years we would just spend the weekend relaxing around the house, usually kicking off the unofficial start of summer with potato salad and barbecue in the backyard.

For all of the reasons mentioned above and hundreds more, Memorial Day weekend has always been and will continue to be a wonderful source of nostalgia. It is a time to relax, take a breather from school and work, and catch up with the family. But as the proud son of a Marine I remember the holiday meaning a little bit more. 

Every year I distinctly remember my mother making a big deal about employers making people work on Memorial Day. For her and my father as well, it wasn't just the fact that those people wouldn't be able to spend Monday with their families, it was a grave sign of disrespect to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the rest of us could enjoy this honored American tradition. For the majority of my friends I can say that this sentiment probably never crossed their mind. For most the meaning of Memorial Day stopped at three day weekend. But in my house, the holiday was a time to stop, reflect and give thanks to those who valiantly put their lives in harm’s way in order to protect our way of life and secure the blessings of liberty throughout the world.

This Memorial day I hope all Americans take the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. The freedom that we as Americans cherish so deeply is forged by the bravery of those who have pledged their lives in defense of it. This Monday let’s honor and remember our fallen heroes and the sacrifices they have made.

I also hope that we remember the family members behind the fallen and all of our warriors. You don’t have to wear a uniform to be wounded by war, and many spouses, parents and children of our soldiers fight their own war of separation, loneliness and anguish at home. 

This Memorial Day weekend, kick back and grab a little R & R, toss a baseball with your kids or give big hug to your mom. But let’s be sure to remember how blessed we are to live in a nation worth defending and remain perpetually thankful to all the heroes who have given their live to keep it that way.

Shane Cooke
Director of Communications and Outreach