Two sets of ceremonies were juxtaposed in this week — the Memorial Day observations on Monday and the graduations and middle school promotions held Thursday and Friday.
Many of those who died in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars also graduated from high school. Most of those mostly male young graduates faced the daunting prospect of being drafted or of enlisting, to fight in grueling overseas wars. They knew the ends of their lives could be much closer than the beginnings, for those were dangerous conflicts that put soldiers, sailors and airmen into grinders from which they often did not emerge alive.
Graduates of today have their own worries — whether they will be able to afford college or even get into the college classes they need if they do find the money. Or they may face the tough prospect of trying to find jobs in a soft employment market.
But unless they have made conscious decisions to join the Armed Forces, they can be comfortable in the knowledge that barring something unforeseen, they will not have to leave their families, go to faroff lands and become targets for enemies. Instead, they can go about their civilian lives in relative safety and comfort.
On Memorial Day, the ceremony was one of solemn remembrance, and of fellowship with those who had served and helped create the circumstances so that graduations scheduled for a few days hence could be held as times of joy, and not of trepidation.
Young people nowadays tend to believe they’re bulletproof. Young people of days gone by were sure they were not bullet-proof, and hoped they didn’t have to have it demonstrated to them.
We thank the men and women who served and died so that the young men and women of today can live to enjoy life to its fullest.