For me, Memorial Day is the day designed to honor those who served their country who are no longer alive. I know many people include veterans and active duty members in their remembrances on Memorial Day but I think Veteran’s Day is the better day to celebrate who they are and prefer Memorial Day to be for the remembering of those who died in service or since their service.
This includes my dad, who was a graduate of the USNaval Academy class of 1941 and who was a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was assigned to the USS Downes which was a destroyer in dry dock. He died just a few weeks after the 60th anniversary in 2001 but fell ill on Dec. 4, so did not get to participate in any of the 60th remembrances.
I recently read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. It is a good book about a WWII veteran who was destined to be an Olympic runner and his service to the USA in the Army Air Corps and as a Japanese Prisoner of War. It made me reflect on what that service and time frame would have been like for my father. Like many in his generation, he seldom spoke of World War II.
Here is a picture from the Naval History command which shows the dry dock after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.