I feel just right about taking my grand-daughter to the beach on Memorial Day. I think that, in a way, that’s the deep meaning of this holiday of remembrance.
In 1944 the Allies, mostly Americans there, liberated France from Nazi occupation. The first Americans we saw did not just save me, a toddler, from likely starvation, or from mere misery if my father were to die of starvation instead. They liberated me and they gave me chocolate. My mother said she cried when she saw the chocolate because she had not seen any for years.
America does not mean just living off the bare minimum. It means living with ease. That is America’s message to humanity: There is dignity in having chocolate anytime you wish. American veterans suffered and died for the simple human dignity of eating chocolate and taking your grand-daughter to the beach in peace. Relatively free capitalism is the normal motor of this freedom, of course.
The relationship between bravery in war on the one hand and chocolate and the beach on the other, is difficult to grasp for most Europeans who tend to the grandiose (especially the French, let’s face it.) It’s had to grasp even for some Americans. Perhaps they should move elsewhere to make room for an equal number of foreigners who understand better than they the attainable American dream.