23.5.09

Memorial Day In America




Memorial Day was set up as a day to honor soldiers who died in the line of combat. According to the proclamation, flowers are to be "strewn" about their graves. We're supposed to honor them and their sacrifice (and it is a sacrifice, but not one that should be too surprising). So why on Earth do we have massive auto dealership sales connected with this holiday? Doesn't that seem a little crass?

For as long as I can remember, auto dealers have been having these sales. They often call them "Memorial Day Events." If there were any honesty in advertising the commercials would go a little something like this ...

"For 96 hours only your local Dodge dealer is having the kick-off sales event of the summer! It's Memorial Day Madness, and you can only find it at Dodge. You probably have family members who have died in combat or know someone with family members who have died in combat. Perhaps a grandfather or great grandfather who caught a bullet in the face from some Nazi. Maybe an uncle who went off to Vietnam and returned a charred corpses, identified only by dog tags fused into the charcoal mess that was his chest. Don't let their sacrifices ... sacrifices made for our freedom ... hamper your freedom to come on in to Dodge and see the new Ram, which comes with a thousand dollar rebate o.a.c..

If you have a family you'd like to shepherd to the graveyard to place flowers on the grave of your eldest son, his life taken from him when a piece of shrapnel from an IED ripped up through the unarmored floor of his transport and cut him open from crotch to collar, spilling his organs out onto the carpet of his vehicle, then you need our new Caravan. Each Caravan comes standard with backseat DVD players, and for this event only get your copy of Saving Private Ryan so your kids can see what war was really like in a country that still had some semblance of integrity and honor.

If you're a young soldier back home from Afghanistan and you're looking to run from your PTSD, we suggest you check out the Viper. If you want to put rape, the shooting of civilians, and the thought that every kid running up to you to beg for American candy could be carrying explosives, then look no further. The Viper goes from 0 to Guilt Free in less than ninety seconds. Let's see Ford or Chevy do that.

"So after you're done putting flowers on the grave of a relative you never met and know nothing about, and you've explained "for the last time" why Vietnam happened, come on in to your local Dodge dealer and check out our event. You'll arrive introspective and depressed over our treatment of the vets, but you'll leave with a new car.

"Let's make Memorial Day memorable again!"

That will never happen, however. Car dealerships have too much to worry about without thinking of their consciousness.

1 comment:

Trevlyn said...

Vonnegut's preface to Breakfast of Champions talks about this same sorta thing in regards to Veteran's Day. It used to be known as Armistice Day, the day WWI ended, and that was a sacred day. During its first year, all nations involved in WWI had an utter moment of silence at 11:11 and soldiers say that that moment of silence was the Voice of God. Days like Memorial Day and Veteran's Day have to turned from sacred days where God speaks to humanity, to a day where you go to the lake, get trashed and can get a great deal on some fine swim trunks. I weep for its continual evolution