So as far as I can tell after today, Americans choose to remember the fallen by barbecuing, bouncing castles, music and funnel cakes. It marks the start of the summer; kids celebrate the start of the pool season (although canine /feline inspired rain put a damper on that) and we all enjoy a day off work.
Is it just me or is that not completely screwed up? "Memorial day sale" is not a phrase which should trip off the tongue - but it is treated as a completely normal concept here. Maybe I missed out on a briefing or something but surely we should be thinking about those who have died so that we can enjoy our freedom rather than simply going out and enjoying that freedom?
My next memorial day will be properly somber, with a siren that will bring the entire country to a halt in solemn unity - remembering all those who have died in defence of the State.