Finding Meaning on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is right around the corner and while the holiday is the perfect opportunity for quality time with family, it’s important to reflect on what Memorial Day truly means. We also think it’s a great time to talk about how society and popular culture view the noble men and women who served our country and returned home to lead happy and productive lives. 

Memorial Day is all about remembering the sacrifice of those who died in service to our country. Originally called Decoration Day based on the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers and flags, Memorial Day was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to observe the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.

This Memorial Day weekend, if you find yourself relaxing with some TV, you’re likely to see a movie about soldiers and war. Whether in movies or in the media, veterans are often seen as physically and psychologically wounded, and that needs to change. So we thought we’d share an inspirational story about how a Hollywood producer and veteran-empowering nonprofit Got Your 6 have teamed up to change the perception service members in society. We found this story on the Facebook page of NationSwell, which profiles social innovators who are solving America’s most critical issues. It’s a great source of inspiration to share with your family anytime.

Charlie Ebersol, a TV and film producer, teamed up with Got Your 6 and the White House to develop a certification system for films and television that contain a representative and balanced depiction of veterans. (Think: Chris Pratt playing a Navy veteran in the blockbuster Jurassic World, or the latest season of Dancing with the Stars, which featured an Army vet and double amputee doing the Tango.) Ebersol’s goal is to counter the view that vets are either heroes or they’re victims; they either need our help or they don’t need any help at all. Instead of that binary view, Ebersol wants veterans to be seen as their true selves — loyal, hard-working, and committed.

So as you enjoy the long weekend with family, let’s remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country while reflecting on healthy ways to think about and interact with the brave veterans in our community who put themselves on the line for us.