memorial day is a day we dedicate to the dead - to remember those who fell in defense of this country and the ideals which this country stands for. we may want, therefore, some drape of patriotism, some nod toward a higher motive more than mere circumstance, but not too much lest we trivialize the individual loss or somehow glorify the waste of youth and joy.
those who forfeited their lives, they chose, or were sometimes required, to live in a manner which brought them in harm's way, and to that harm they fell.
our task is not to validate the sacrifice but to acknowledge it, to remember that it was made. we should do so, not out of guilt - what guilt should we own in surviving, in continuing as they laid down their lives to insure. but we should do it with humility - most of us have done nothing to earn that continuing. and if any validation is necessary, it is for we the living to prove that we are worthy of the sacrifice through dedication toward the peace that was purchased by these honored dead.