Memorial Day has been observed in the US for over 150 years, but it seems like it’s honored less and less, while Americans memorialize everything from drag queens, to LGBTQ+ Pride, to racially-specific history. This is an example of skewed priorities, and it if it doesn't change, the nation will suffer.
Our military is the very force that keeps America safe and strong, its citizens free and flourishing. Without a national defense, we’d have been conquered by now or have become substantially weaker. On Memorial Day, we have the chance to honor the men and women who have died serving our country in the armed forces. Patriotism may feel old-fashioned or a thing of the past, but it is the way we can honor and memorialize the sacrifice of those who died to ensure our American way of life.
But in America, citizens are more likely lyrics to all Taylor Swift’s songs rather than the names of the men and women who died in active duty, or even the names of the battles and wars they fought it. It’s a lot more normal to wear the names of brands that aren’t even ethical, such as Balenciaga, Prada, or Chanel, than to proudly wear a branch of the military on a sweatshirt or even just to hang an American flag outside your home.
Right now, in America, and especially when former President Donald Trump was in office, it was cool to hate America even as much citizens reveled in the freedom afforded them by the American way of life. What’s more American than tweeting on an iPhone from Starbucks that you just like, can’t stand your Republican President who cut taxes? Progressives said that criticizing the country was a way to show love, but now that critique has turned to hate.
Corporations such as Google, Target, and North Face go all-in for Pride month in June, but barely if ever adorn their products with American flag, and they sure don't promote it at all the same extent. Sure, some brands like Old Navy and Walmart seem to rise to the challenge of maintaining American patriotism, especially in the summer, but why don’t more brands stress the patriotism and importance of sacrifice on Memorial Day?
Brand ambassadors and public relations’ specialists might suggest that honoring our fallen isn’t exactly as exuberant as Pride month, what with its happy rainbow logo, but memorializing the men and women who have sacrificed for our country need not be a depressing affair, just a patriotic one. Without them, there would be no Pride month, or Target.
Black Rifle Coffee, an veteran-owned brand, provides a great example of this in a recent Instagram post. “We’re memorializing our friends today, and going into tomorrow, we hope that you’re able to memorialize yours however you see fit.” There are over 50 names and photos of men and women who died serving, posted in the caption.
There are other veteran-owned brands that do a great job of sending a patriotic message to consumers, but in America, land of the free because of the brave, cliche but true, it shouldn’t just be a handful like Gruntsyle and Nine Line Apparel selling patriotism and pausing to remember the fallen. Every brand and company, every consumer and corporation, should be proudly American.
Not only are these businesses functioning well due to good old-fashioned capitalism, a uniquely American-executed ideal, but there’s a reason there’s more billionaires here than anywhere else. America is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
On and around Memorial Day, businesses Americans patron should be flooded with flags and patriotic memorabilia. There should be names of the fallen by category everywhere, there should be highways and parks named after them. The memory of their sacrifice should coexist alongside our children on the playgrounds and the BBQ’s we hold outside. That’s exactly what most members of the military fought for, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They knew there was a possibility they’d die doing it, and they did it anyway.
This Memorial Day, take some time to know who gave their life for your freedom in your town. Wear your patriotism with the kind of pride reserved only for Pride month, and teach your kids to honor the people who gave the most so they could live freely.