My father's World War II generation gave a lot and suffered a lot. But our country did right by them when they came home. They were able to go to college and find jobs. They led pleasant lives and watched their children grow up in peace.
It used to be that the words Memorial Day brought with them a lightness that came with the beginning of summer and the promise of long salty days at the beach. It used to be that the words Gold Star Families meant nothing to me.
Start with a joke -- something like: "I know you'd probably prefer to be in the Hamptons." But don't antagonize the 12 people in the audience by adding: "... but couldn't afford it." The bartender won't give you a free drink.
I have never had doubts about the courage of the young men and women we sent overseas wearing the uniform. I have never had doubts about the pain caused to those in the military as they lay dying in foreign fields.
War -- conflict resolution by violence. Memorial Day -- a day to remember those killed in wars. More than remembering, Memorial Day is reality for me. That reality began in 2003 and was amplified in 2013.
If you are tired, let someone else do some driving. Respect your exhaustion. Never risk the safety of yourselves and those around you to try to get to your vacation spot a little earlier. It's just not worth the risk.
From Palm Springs to D.C., we've rounded up six convenient Memorial Day escapes from coast to coast to ensure that you spend more time enjoying your blues festival (or pool party) than you do deciding where to go.