The Better for America Podcast

Let’s Add Health Care Workers and First Responders to Those We Remember on Memorial Day

Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2020
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by Rebecca Weber
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87 Comments

health care workers first responders memorial dayDid you miss someone on Memorial Day? You can be excused if you did, as these particular heroes and heroines may be invisible. Perhaps it’s because they are part of our lives — the health care workers and first responders that are there for us each and every day. But the COVID crisis is a game changer. The doctors, nurses, aides, EMS workers and the cops on the beat face a clear and present danger, yet they do not hesitate to come to our aid despite the deadly threat of infection.

Ordinarily, the purpose of the Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military—especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  But the honor roll has been expanded this year.  It’s not official but the pandemic has created a new class of warriors to whom we should pay tribute: those who die on the front lines in the war against this new, inhuman and devilishly lethal threat.

These “civilians” are not conscripts; they are volunteers who didn’t hesitate to come to our rescue despite the clear and present danger posed by the disease.  This is not your run-of-the-mill flu.  It’s a plague that is highly contagious, less than six-feet-apart contagious.  Yet they don’t hesitate to get up close and personal to come to the rescue.

So many health care workers, police officers and fire fighters who have tested positive for coronavirus as a result of their readiness to come to the aid of those who suffer from the disease that there is no official count.  But, you can be sure that many thousands of them have, in fact, fallen ill and too many of them have died.  States have been reporting infection rates as high as 20% among physicians, nurses, assistants, technicians, orderlies, administrators, volunteers, drivers, porters, EMTs, police and firefighters.

Bear in mind that while these men and women — first responders, all — may appear to be stout and strong as they stoically go about their work but they are just as vulnerable as you and me.

Dr. Jessica Gold put it this way in an article in STATE magazine recently:  “They inspire us as they go to work every day, at great personal risk, to keep others safe.  But, as a psychiatrist, I spend much of my life observing and listening — I know that their calm surface appearance is the only armor they have left. Underneath it, many health care workers are barely keeping it together. They are anxious and they are afraid. They aren’t sleeping and they find themselves crying more than usual. The overall feeling in my friends, family, and co-workers is one of an impending doom and an existing gloom that is both physically and psychologically palpable.”

Many of us were out playing with our kids and grandkids as the nation observed Memorial Day last Monday.  We’ll probably ate a little too much.  We celebrated the non-official beginning of summer.  We are a resourceful people and surely we were able to find a way to party despite self-isolation, face masks and gloves  But we are also a grateful nation that remembers the sacrifices of our armed forces and our unarmed protectors on the front lines of the war against a new insidious enemy — COVID-19.

About AMAC

The 2 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join.

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Robert Oaks
Robert Oaks
4 years ago

No. Stop.

George
George
4 years ago

No. Memorial Day is to honor those military personnel who paid the ultimate price for the USA.

To lump medical personnel and first responders in with those fallen military personnel is a slap in the face to those military personnel.

Bob
Bob
4 years ago

To your question to add first responders to the memorial; NO!

Now you remember just what the day is for.
It started as decoration – putting decorations on deceases military of the wars.
The name was changed but the remembered was increased to the deceased of ALL wars

Being a Vietnam Vet, I may get a flag on my grave when I am gone. I accept that, as we were not
Welcomed home, when we returned.

You may say that we get acknowledged today. Let me help your memory.
Returning service members of more current conflicts were welcomed home.
Thanks to the Vietnam Vets starting it = We will not let returning troops to be ignored!
When they found out who did that, they took up the effort.

Clinton R (Bob) Weiser, RVN 67-68
Also a member

Benjamin L.
Benjamin L.
4 years ago

Memorial Day is for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in service to their country. Memorial day is not to honor the living. We have other days, such as veterans day, for the living that have served their country. Please get it correct.

Greg Reed
Greg Reed
4 years ago

I don’t agree with adding others to the Memorial Day rememberance. This was meant for those fallen in war. If we are to recognize and remember those fallen First Responders then establish another holiday for them.

notluf trebor
notluf trebor
4 years ago

You are kidding? Why not just dilute the remembrance of those killed in combat like every other value we have/had? I know, how about an “American taxpayer that pays for EVERYTHING and gets credit for NOTHING day”?

Oh, and why do you ask me for my emaill address when you sent me the email I am replying to. Do you take pleasure in annoying your membership?

Thomas Ronayne
Thomas Ronayne
4 years ago

Respectfully, no. Memorial Day was established and intended to observe those who have served and gone before us. Doctors, nurses, EMS, law enforcement and fire services are only some of the vitally important responders who have led the fight against Covid…but that does not alter what Memorial Day is.
A day of observance for first and even support responders who help ensure the others can effectively and successfully accomplish their missions would be fine, but again, not Memorial Day.
Civil response includes countless people, each of their roles critical. Thank you to each of them for their efforts in response to Covid and the countless other emergencies, large and small that they bravely address every day.

Jon Kirsch
Jon Kirsch
4 years ago

Memorial Day is meant to honor those that gave their LIVES while in the military fighting for our freedom. We need to keep it that way. Everyone is a hero these days, so the word is losing its importance.

The OLD Warhorse
The OLD Warhorse
4 years ago

Sorry AMAC. Memorial Day is to “remember” or to “memorialize” those who have DIED to make this great nation and to keep it free. Maybe include medical folks in with other “First Responders” on Sept. 11 commemorations. But please, please, don’t dilute Memorial Day any more than it has been.

Jerry Forton
Jerry Forton
4 years ago

NO, Memorial day is for war Dead. Veterans day is for living. Create a seperate day for workers dealing with covid. Health care, as well as grocery, truckers, etc.

Bill Fess
Bill Fess
4 years ago

NO! No, Not a good idea. Memorial Day is for the MILITARY HEROS . They deserve their own day of Recognition and Remembrance!!

As much as I appreciate and honor their contribution and all they have done, they already have their own times to be celebrated.
Jan 9th, National Law Enforcement Day
May 4th, National Fire Fighters DatMay 12,, international Nurses Day
May 17 – 23, National EMT Week
Oct. 28, National First Responders Day

JMR
JMR
4 years ago

A memorial is for someone who died. Memorial Day is a sacred day of remembrance for those who died fighting for our freedoms. It should not be diluted with add-ons.

When I was a kid we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. They served a purpose, to remember those great men. Then they were made meaningless by inventing “President’s Day” and making it a Monday, just another excuse for a long weekend. Memorial Day should be left alone, and Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday (and Columbus Day!) should be brought back.

mary
mary
4 years ago

As I went back and reread this article, I was in disbelief that the CEO of AMAC doesn’t even know the history and purpose of Memorial Day. As a new subscriber, I have a problem with someone heading up an organization for mature adults without having her facts straight regarding such a basic part of our military and country’s history. Regrettable article.

mary
mary
4 years ago

Horrible! This day was established so long ago, for 1 purpose, to honor those who died in service to our country’s military. To even think about changing this purpose is so blase and disrespectful. Shame on you.

numbersrunner
numbersrunner
4 years ago

I have to wonder that the writer of this article that suggests weakening the meaning of Memorial Day is also the president of AMAC, an organization of which I have heretofore been a happy member.

Charles Jernigan
Charles Jernigan
4 years ago

No way! Memorial day is to remember the price of the freedoms that we so easily take for granted. Men and women died to provide this freedom for us. While healthcare workers and first respoders are special and caring people who often save lives there is no comparison to those who have been through war. Please don’t dilute this special day. By adding unrelated items the day becomes less and less effective until it is just a day off from work that nobody understands.

numbersrunner
numbersrunner
4 years ago

I guess I misunderstood. I thought the purpose of Memorial Day was the same as that of the former Decoration Day. I grew up thinking that the purpose of Decoration Day was to honor those who GAVE THEIR LIVES in the armed services of their country. I never envisioned it to be anything else. I also thought that the holiday that we honor those who SERVED in the armed services was called Veterans Day. I can see reasons to honor others who risk their well-being and their lives in other pursuits to serve others in their communities, but I do not see the need to tie that to a Federal Holiday that has another purpose.
And NO! Covid 19 is a disease that the media and some politicians have transformed into a game-changer. Why should we feel any different about those who choose to expose themselves to Covid 19 than to those who exposed themselves to malaria, polio, any or any other infectious and potentially deadly disease?

D pfeffer
D pfeffer
4 years ago

Memorial Day is not for health care or first responders. Give them their own day. What is wrong with you. Meomorial Day is specific for those in the armed forces WHO DIED fighting serving the United States of America. How dare you take that away from those who gave up there lives defending America

Harold Eaton
Harold Eaton
4 years ago

Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military—those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Vetetans Day is to honor those who currently serve to protect us.. LET’S LEAVE IT AS IT IS INTENDED and honor those first responders etc. on a special day and not take away the honor due our millitary who defended this great nation….even some of our veterans are homeless and forgotten.. Please don’t take away the one day devoted to them.. please

J Peter Armerding
J Peter Armerding
4 years ago

Please, Don’t hijack either of these combat veterans Remembrance Days by adding/equating those who don’t qualify. Memorial Day is for those who died in combat. Veterans Day is for those who served and continue to served in our military forces.

Promote a First Responders Day Or whatever to honor them.

Thank You
Peter

Earl Bonner
Earl Bonner
4 years ago

No, this would not be right. Our military dead may not have all been volunteers but the all answered the call of their country and were willing to die for it, often in a excruciatingly painful way. No, these are all deserving of their own day of remembrance to be honored. The rest of us veterans have our day on the 11 of November, it is and should be completely separate from Memorial Day.

JanetK
JanetK
4 years ago

Bad idea – that is their job, their chosen profession. Grocery store workers the heroes during the recent shutdown!

John B.
John B.
4 years ago

I share the opinion that Memorial Day should remain the day designated to honor veterans and military personnel. It has a great deal of historical significance. Medical personnel and first responders deserve to be honored, but not a part of Memorial Day. Another day or occasion should be selected. There has been quite a bit of public recognition and thanks that has been given on a regular basis already.

Gary J Toth
Gary J Toth
4 years ago

Absolutely NOT! This sounds like “everybody gets a trophy”. As has been mentioned, give ’em their own day. God knows everyone else seems to have one!

TomS
TomS
4 years ago

No, do not even consider putting healthcare workers and first responders in the same category as people who have given their lives for our country. My wife and I are both military veterans and emergency department workers. It would be a travesty to even consider this proposal.

Richard
Richard
4 years ago

Let there be no question, I support first responders and our health care corps. But also, let there be no question that those who die in combat, while bullets are flying at them, deserve the special respect of Memorial Day.

TomS
TomS
4 years ago

My wife and I are both emergency department healthcare workers. We are totally against incorporating healthcare workers and first responders into memorial day. We are not heroes we are just doing our job and we know the risks of that job.

Linda
Linda
4 years ago

You must be kidding. I am a retired nurse. I was exposed to numerous infectious diseases during my career. I knew what I was getting into. Memorial Day should only be for our military who gave all for our freedom. It is not for the living. My dad was a WWII vet who said that the heroes were the ones who never came home. I expect more from you AMAC. I am disappointed in you.

Frank Cicero
Frank Cicero
4 years ago

As Tom pointed out in his reply… we already have several days to commemorate First Responders. Obviously, the author of this article didn’t do their homework…letting their heart get in the way of their head. That’s the same mentality that allows the National Debt continue to skyrocket.

Lee Kaufmann
Lee Kaufmann
4 years ago

Yes, the healthcare professionals, the EMS personnel, career and volunteer, the police officers, Firefighters, again, career and volunteer, and all other first responders deserve a day of recognition – of their own. To remember them on the same day as our military veterans does a dishonor to both. Each has served admirably, without question or hesitation; seeking nothing more than the safety and security of their fellow human beings.
I am a veteran, a retired Firefighter/Officer – 25 years each in both Career and Volunteer capacities.

Marilyn
Marilyn
4 years ago

Never! What a shameful suggestion. My dad and five of my uncles served in the military during WW II and one of my uncles died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died defending this country. Period. First responders and others can be recognized on some other day(s).

allan bickford
allan bickford
4 years ago

Memorial day is for our deceased troops. While I would support some type of special day for our first responders, especially those that have died in this newest battle, it is not the same. Being coughed on & dying is just not the same as going overseas to defend some other country and being shot, blown up, attacked with a flame thrower etc. After I retired from the military, I spent 24 years as a fire fighter and several as an EMT, so I see both sides of this discussion.

Mike Reidt AMAC Advocate WA4
Mike Reidt AMAC Advocate WA4
4 years ago

My opinion, no. As a retired first responder, I appreciate the sentiment, but Memorial Day is special for a reason. Let’s keep it that way.

Don H.
Don H.
4 years ago

And next I suppose there will be a demand that burial services be grated this new class of Warriors be buried in Arlington and other government cemeteries. Better to create a different day for first responders recognition rather than water down historical military observance. Just sayin’

Don
Don
4 years ago

I am adamantly opposed to the addition of the health care workers/first responders to the Memorial Day honoring. I wholeheartedly agree with the addition of another day set aside for them, but Memorial Day is, and always should be, to honor those military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country in war and peacetime. To add, and then later on add some more, and then after that add some other group that some self-righteous pinhead thinks ought to be included does a terrible disservice to the memory of our military members. This idea sounds like it comes from someone who feels that everyone should get a participation trophy and that we should never keep score, because that will hurt someones feelings. So, no. Not only no to including them on Memorial Day, but hell no.

David Devon
David Devon
4 years ago

David D

No! No! No! Absolutely not! Recently I heard that teachers were now heroes! Before you know it garbage men, insurance salesmen, lawyers, janitors, etc. will be added.
Memorial Day should be solely to honor military veterans. This sounds like something coming from the radical left and I find this idea being brought up by AMAC very
disturbing. I didn’t go to Vietnam as a combat infantryman to let a proposal such as this be adopted.

Rebecca B
Rebecca B
4 years ago

Memorial Day has always been to honor those who died fighting for our freedom. I don’t think doctors, nurses, or first responders should be honored on a day honoring those who died for our freedom.
As much as I appreciate first responders, it’s not the same, honor them on a different day. The meaning of Memorial Day should not be made into something it’s not.

larry dever
larry dever
4 years ago

no , enough , stop the BS they got paid did they not ? No one in a free country is more essential than anybody else !!!!

Thomas pote
Thomas pote
4 years ago

Memorial Day is for our military!
As a retired, 37 year, “First Responder” LEO, I do not belong in Memorial Day observances. Law enforcement has it’s own Day and Week.

My daughter, a Surgical Nurse – who is still alive and well – might enjoy and deserve her own day of recognition…

Scott USCGA
Scott USCGA
4 years ago

Absolutely not. I’m amazed that AMAC would even post something as tone deaf as that.

Vincent Yurksaitis
Vincent Yurksaitis
4 years ago

I am in agreement with BobA. Thank God for those that serve and give their lives as health care workers, but let’s not delude the memory of those that gave their lives in a very different and heroic manner.

Steve
Steve
4 years ago

You’re barking up the wrong tree! Memorial Day is for military service members who have given their lives. Not saying first responders aren’t brave people, but they are 2 different groups–not a good idea. And I notice many people have the same opinion.

Robert
Robert
4 years ago

No! Leave Memorial Day asa remembrance of service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Claudette Hall
Claudette Hall
4 years ago

Absolutely Not! We honor the sacrifice the members of the military made or where willing to make, today and every day and in the past. We should honor each other, day in and day out. Why isn’t it possible, for mankind to admit, for our own existence on this earth, we need each other. In some capacity of each and every hour of each and every day!! Year after year to follow succinctly, day after day! We may not always like each individual, but in some cases, it removes our focus upon ourself!!

KathyW
KathyW
4 years ago

No. Absolutely not. A day set aside to remember those in the military who died defending our freedom should NEVER be diluted. I have no quarrel with recognizing our heroic covid19 first responders. Just not on this day.

S Freeman
S Freeman
4 years ago

No, no, NO! It cheapens the meaning of Memorial Day. A day where thousands upon thousands have given their lives. They actually died for their service to our country.

I had to work every day during this so-called pandemic. I’m a plain old grocery store worker. Watching people flip out over this over hyped virus… it’s disgusting. We performed a tough job, extra duties, CLOSE CONTACT with thousands of people and every single item their contaminated gloves have touched all day (the same gloves they discarded in shopping carts and all over the parking lot for us to pick up), verbal abuse, customers fighting over space, angry people griping over the non existent toilet paper and supplies that they, themselves, horded. The mental, physical, and emotional effects of all this has been overwhelming. Yet, we are not heroes, either. Not even close. To date, none of us within my store have been infected. Not one. I’m just glad to have a job.

The medical community faces deadly and infectious disease on a daily basis. It’s a little thing called their job. A tough one, yes. Also, one for which they are pretty well trained and compensated. This virus was hyped to be way more deadly than it has turned out to be. The media and overreach of Government has made it appear to be way more significant. So, in the minds of many, these doctors and nurses are facing almost certain death. I’m not discounting their work. Many are fine people. But to say they have sacrificed their lives to the level of our military? No. Not even close.

Memorial Day is for military service members who died serving our country. Give the medical community their own day if we must. But don’t conflate the two. I am grateful for doctors and nurses, but eternally grateful for the brave men and women who sacrificed everything so that we could have a free nation in which those doctors and nurses work. Perspective.

Brian Sanford
Brian Sanford
4 years ago

It is clear that we have heroes, medical and first responder, that deserve recognition for their sacrifice during the Coronavirus crisis. A special day of remembrance, established by Congress, should be considered.
Memorial Day, as designated by Congress, is a day to remember our Military Heroes. The ultimate price paid for our freedom stands alone. Keep Memorial Day as it is .. remember – FREEDOM IS NOT FREE – ALL GAVE SOME AND SOME GAVE ALL!

JoAnn Toles
JoAnn Toles
4 years ago

Just No! I am a retired RN and my husband retired State Patrol and ex military so my respect for first responders runs high. And tho they do expose themselves to a deadly virus and other diseases and possibility of death each day, it is important that we respect those who died defending this country. Keep it separate please. God bless and keep all who serve safe.

Marv Shamhart
Marv Shamhart
4 years ago

Absolutely not Memorial Day is set aside for the remembrance of our fallen military.

Willy B
Willy B
4 years ago

I Agree somewhat that folks doing special deeds to combat this epedemic & going beyond to help need to be recognized but don’t agree lumping them into Memorial Day. Because conversation is led by Political & Media Bias now…the only way to determine what’s true is to look back on it later on & memorialize Then.

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