A distinction is sometimes made between the American civilians killed in those terror attacks and the American soldiers killed in wars before and after. But in many ways they seem the same. They were all civilians at some stage, they were all citizens in the end, and they were all killed in conflicts over the same liberties.
The more we assign the soldiering to a select few volunteers—we don’t have an equalizing draft and there is no required national service—perhaps the easier it is to forget what it means to share a common citizenship or feel a sense of indebtedness or appreciation. If we no longer share in the service, risk and obligation, maybe that explains why many of us no longer observe Memorial Day.
Nowadays we’re just trying to be practical. We use the time to go shopping.
-John Bussey ‘How Can We Return to the Roots of Memorial Day?‘ The Wall Street Journal