As a teenager, I hated no activity at the summer church camps that followed Memorial Day weekend more than the tug-of-war. I was almost always the smallest person in the group, chosen last and put at the end of the rope where my efforts to pull backwards had the least effect on the outcome. When my team lost, I inevitably scraped my knees as all of us were pulled forward into the dust. Even when my team won, I landed on my butt in the dirt, and someone usually fell on top of me.
In even the best of those summer games, I didn’t like competition. But I abhorred the tug-of-war, where humiliation seemed to be the end result for almost everyone except for the big guys at the front of the line on the winning team, who crowed and jeered at the losers in a most un-Christlike way.
On Memorial Day, when we remember veterans who have died in service to our country, we would do well to remember that the Millennial Generation, our young adults, much maligned for their lack of commitment to American values, have paid the ultimate sacrifice more than any generation since the end of the Vietnam War. Nearly 7000 Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them millennials who volunteered for military service.
Unlike the Baby Boomer generation, who were drafted into military service, these young people have joined the military for a host of reasons, not the least of which is their belief in the freedoms we enjoy in our country. And unlike those who have served in the military of any recent generation, they are largely ignored rather than honored when they return home, even when they return to Dover in a coffin draped with an American flag. Continue reading What Does Memorial Day Mean to Millennials?→