In Israel, Memorial Day is a time for grieving and somber reflection. Everyone knows someone who has been lost in battle, and when the siren wails, many people cry.
Here in the United States, Memorial Day is an occasion for sales, barbecues, and trips to the beach. I've never been sure whether to be grateful for or ashamed of the degree of complacency that this aspect of our culture reflects.
It's hard to tell, but after three years of war, things seem to be a little bit different. Memorial Day is still, first and foremost, a long weekend, the beginning of summer. But in the media, at least, it has also become a time for talking about the costs of war and remembering the fallen.
It is strange to be a citizen of a country at war in a time without a draft. In some sense, the soldiers who have died have done so in our stead. The least that we can do is have them in our thoughts one day a year.