It’s not the sale, it’s their sacrifice

May 29, 2021

The task seemed simple enough.  Take to the internet in search of a new patio rug.

I started with one of the more popular online sites and before I even had a chance to browse the selections, there it was, in all its disgrace, a banner ad blaring out:

“memorial day blowout – 70% off 1000s of items! + Free Shipping on EVERYTHING!”

And that was over a full week before the actual day when we’re supposed to be remembering those who died defending our freedoms.

The “blowout” wording was beyond idiot level, but they added insult to injury when they didn’t even have the courtesy to capitalize Memorial Day.  But hey, the words were in red, white, and blue typeface so all’s good, right?

Another site had among the first four “recommended” items an American flag rug.  Yes, a fully representative America flag as a rug.

The description was full of “features” to entice my purchase. “Great value, high quality and very durable – kids and pet friendly – this rug does not shed and easy to clean.”

Somehow “this rug does not shed…” doesn’t quite square with “these colors don’t run”.

Call me old fashioned but I find no value in turning the image of the flag of the United States into a patio rug for one and all to walk upon at will.  I don’t care how “kid and pet friendly” it is.

Especially when you consider how many tens coffins that flag has been draped over.

Another site, a known brick and mortar retail player wasn’t exploiting Memorial Day for its own sake, but I couldn’t help shaking my head at the AdChoices pop up within the page:

“AARP, Memorial Day Sale, 43% off the standard annual rate – $9 per year when you sign up for a five year term”

In the upper left corner was the urgent message: “limited time offer!” joined with a “Get a FREE second membership for anyone in your household.” pitch.

Being old enough to remember AARP before it became a political left corporate behemoth, I long ago had sworn off joining.  But seeing the organization founded by a retired high school teacher go from its 1958  mission to “enhance the quality of life for older persons” to hawking a membership sale using the most hallowed of American holidays is sinking to a new low.

As of this writing I still haven’t decided on which rug from which store.  But I have decided that out of the over dozen sites I visited, three took themselves out of the running on the first click.

They could have been offering free rugs and paid me for shipping and I’d have refused the delivery.

If you can’t sell rugs without demeaning our fallen or highlighting as one of your top items the image of our flag as nothing more than an oversized door mat, I want no part of you.

And with that now off my chest I take you back to May 2012 and my note from the heartland of what Memorial Day truly means:

“Out here lives the true American spirit not mentioned in the political ads trying to divide us or the liberties taken for granted by those too busy to care.

The desire to just live free and be left alone. The core belief that just being American is enough and the rest will take care of itself. (If the politicians and bureaucrats would just stop mucking it up that is.)

And yet as simple as “just live free and be left alone” sounds, we also know out here that none of it would be possible without the blood, sweat and sacrifice by those who came before us.

We understand that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction” is not just a phrase, but a proven truth.

We respect our military and we honor their sacrifice, for we know that without them there is no freedom.

We know “Memorial Day weekend” is more than fun in the sun and brats on the grill.

So, wherever you are this weekend, whatever you’re doing, whomever you’re with, please take just a moment and give thanks and a prayer.

Thanks for those uniforms scattered around the world that we here at home may gather; a prayer for the souls of those gone before and for those serving today.

Take a moment to reflect upon what courage it must have taken those many years ago to put your name to paper and pledge your life to but one word: “freedom”.”

For those of us blessed enough to be called American citizens it’s the least we can do.

Publisher Note:  A version of this column appears in the May 29th, 2021 edition of the Joplin Globe.

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