I never thought much about Memorial Day as a kid. In the family I have to go back as far as great-uncles to find relatives who even served in war, and they all came back. As for many, I suppose, it was the 1st everybody-hanging-out-in-the-back-yard-and-swimming-in-the-neighbor's-pool day of the summer. As a heady, 70's kind of teenager, I had a kind of contempt for anything related to the military and national identity.
I think about it more now. I think of the Tomb of the Unknowns. I think of the graves on the beachheads of Normandy. I think about bodies never recovered. I often wonder how palliative it is for families to consider that the fallen "died for their country."
I think of those killed in "friendly fire." I think of those used as test subjects for biological, nuclear, and chemical weaponry. I think of the guy honored in one of the suburbs here who thew himself on a grenade in Vietnam, saving the rest of his company. He was 22.
Buddhist clergy are the go-to people for funerals in East Asia. I think I'll do a small memorial service today. It's the very least I can offer.