Dear Dr. Linda,
This past Memorial Day weekend was so sad. The four of us were alone watching television. I’m a 48-year-old mother of two, and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s the first time I ever thought about how many men and women gave their lives fighting for our country. Do you think we as parents or our educational system is the cause of this lack of empathy and self-centeredness?
Dear Mrs. K.,
Most likely neither one is to blame. Most people do not think about what is happening to someone else unless it affects them personally. Do they have empathy for those in need? Do most people look at someone in need and think, “What can I do to help them?” Probably, most people do. Otherwise, during times of crises we wouldn’t see such an outpouring of charity.
As with you, probably, this past Memorial Day Weekend was thought provoking for a lot of people. As a nation we’re in the middle of a war fighting an enemy we can’t see. The soldiers are everyone of us with the most courageous frontline soldiers of doctors, nurses, health care workers, teachers, police, firefighters, factory workers, transit workers and every citizen that contributes to our everyday lives. This enemy has affected every one of us, not to mention that it has killed nearly 100,000 of our citizens so far.
Our personal stories, our city and state stories and our nation’s story will be written in the history books. Future generations will read about what we are living through, the same way we learned about WWI, WWII, the Great Depression, 9/11 and all the horrific school and nationwide shootings. Students will be memorizing the causes of the virus, the steps our nation took to fight this enemy, and how our lives, our communities and our nation changed as a result. In the future, it could appear as an essay question on a final U.S. History exam.
Years from now, after we conquer COVID-19, the question is whether humankind will develop a deeper sense of empathy for their fellow person—or will Memorial Day Weekend still signify barbecues and sales?
Memorial Day Quiz
Memorial Day was established to honor those men and women who have (1) ¬¬¬¬¬¬______ while serving their country. It actually began as a solemn day to honor those who died during the (2) ______War. Union and (3)___________ armies were both honored. It was originally called (4)____________. President (5) ____________ declared it would be celebrated on the last (6)_____________ in May. Each year, on Memorial Day, the President or Vice President lays a wreath on soldiers’ graves at (7) ___________ National Cemetery. (8) __________ are held all over the country on this day. (9) The holiday’s name was officially declared as Memorial Day in the year _________. The day isn’t a religious holiday or a state holiday, but a (10)_________ holiday.
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Answers: 1. Died; 2. Civil War; 3. Confederate; 4. Decoration Day; 5. Nixon; 6. Monday; 7. Arlington; 8. Parades; 9. 1967; 10. Federal.