Remembering Memorial Day

Do you know the meaning of Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

Both are federally recognized holidays in the United States, so many Americans get the last Monday of May and a day around November 11 off of work. Both days are meant to honor past service people.

What were we expected to think about on each day?

The short answer is that while Veterans Day (in November) primarily honors living personnel, Memorial Day honors the military personnel who died in the line of duty.

The people meant to be honored on Memorial Day aren’t the ones who can choose to march in parades or attend memorial services. That means publicly cheering the stranger wearing a U.S. Marines veteran badge might be more appropriate on another day.

Memorial Day Activities

The traditional activities on Memorial Day are decorating the grave of a service person, saying a prayer, and lowering an American flag to half-mast until noon. This can feel outdated, or unhelpful. Another option is to listen.

I’ve long thought of Monday as a time to support the veterans or civilian family members whose memories can remain raw months or years later. Those of us who have already worked through grief over a lost soldier, or who haven’t suffered any losses personally, can be receptive to stories of the military personnel who have died.

Those of you who are remembering people who were close to you should know your voice can be heard.

Remembering the Past for the Future

Speaking up and listening might be harder this year than most. Focusing on the meaning of Memorial Day can be harder when our own federal administrators don’t understand the holiday.

The current United States Commander in Chief has been talking over veterans and active duty personnel, military advisors, and military families since before his campaign. Despite opposition from senior military officials and others who care about ethics, public safety, and international relations, POTUS 45 is threatening to pardon war criminals next week. In my view, he is using a day meant for recognizing the human costs of service to boost his horrific attacks on humanity.

Please take a moment for yourselves. Enjoy an extra day off of work if you get one. But also, please, take a moment on Monday to consider the threads that weave us together.

May you have a thoughtful Memorial Day.

a plane's wing with the sunlit sky in the background

Self-Propellent to a Mile High Convention

Update: The campaign has closed, and the event has passed. A following post shared my thoughts after MileHiCon 50.


This is a different type of post than I’ve written before. Below is an excerpt from my GoFundMe fundraiser.

MileHiCon is an annual literary speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy) event in Colorado. It’s not a huge event like WorldCon (a literary event) or ComicCon (for comics, often focused on speculative fiction), making it considerably less expensive. It’s more accommodating to marginalized participants than most. For me, it’s the best for connecting with friends and publishing experts. This year is special in that it’s bringing together big names in the industry to celebrate the convention’s 50th anniversary. The list includes authors we would love to see again.

Connecting with my writing peers is important. I have none to meet up with in person unless I travel. The people I’ve already met offline will be at this year’s MileHiCon. After this opportunity, I might not see them again for years.

My husband has fewer contacts online and no local friends.

Attending MileHiCon this year is important for our mental health.

The money I make from writing is not enough to cover trip expenses. My husband’s work covers most of our daily expenses. We need a break from our daily lives. That also includes a break from worrying about how much everything, from toothpaste to a hospital visit costs. In this case, the break we want is from worrying about how we’ll pay back the cost of flying to and from our previous home.

couple posing in front of
MileHiCon 49 was a good experience in 2017

I was raised to believe that the only people who deserve wealth of any kind are those who work for it. That made sense to me as a child. What I knew best was chronic pain and criticisms. I was hungry, hurt, scared, and living in unsafe environments because I wasn’t the right combination of smart enough, strong enough, or appealing enough. Somehow, I could work my way to a better life despite all of my flaws.

That’s not true. Most of us aren’t born with the right amount of luck for wealth.

Knowing that, I still can’t shake the feeling I don’t deserve “handouts”. I’m guessing this is a common feeling in Americans who have lived near poverty lines. It’s one of the misconceptions about poverty and the value of a person.

The feeling that I shouldn’t ask for help doesn’t reflect how I respond about others asking for help. One of the first things I do (which I was also told was wrong) when I receive money I wasn’t expecting is to divide it. I might always owe more than I can give, but I want people to know that I appreciate their help, whether it’s for free services or inspirational art. (I am horrible at sending friends and families gifts; however, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of anxiety-saturated complications.)

The desire to share windfalls, interestingly, a reaction that’s studied. British researchers recently found that we tend to share more when we luck out than when we fight for a resource.

If you gain a high status through effort rather than chance, she said, you are more likely to want to keep what you earned. When your wealth is limited, you have more of an incentive to cooperate.

The concept that people get what they put into works out for the lucky. For many of us, it leads instead to injuries, trauma, exhaustion, and depression as we attempt to work harder for a system that consistently awards those at the top the most.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I feel the need to justify asking anyone for anything, even if it’s $5 that can save a reduce anxiety for a week.

A.M. Lynn


a plane's wing with the sunlit sky in the background
© Free-Photos on Pixabay

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