OPINION – I attended a Memorial Day service where I listened to a spiritual leader giving tribute to veterans who have served our country. However, when the spiritual leader touched on the lack of youth attending the service, speaking instead about vacations, social media and entitlement for the holiday, I wondered why he was criticizing our children.
Many of our children were working one of their many jobs in order to pay for rent, utilities, groceries, their basic needs just to survive in this society and government, which has taken away entitlements enjoyed by previous generations. They were working, not on vacation, not on social media, nor being disrespectful.
Not everyone is entitled to getting a Monday off from work to visit cemeteries and pay tribute to deceased family members and soldiers. Memorial Day was originally established in 1868 and celebrated annually on May 30th for over 100 years. In 1971, it was changed to the last Monday in May.
Now, while everyone else works, it’s a paid Monday holiday from work reserved for government workers entitled to this free day of pay. I also remember Memorial Day family activities of visiting cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of deceased family members, but I don’t recall a requirement of mandatory attendance to memorial services of fallen veterans
My children aren’t entitled. They don’t enjoy the privilege of past generations where one income was sufficient to provide for a family’s needs. They have to work multiple jobs just to survive, because government doesn’t feel they are entitled to fair wages.
My children don’t enjoy the entitlement of attending arts, music, and history classes in school as I did. Those classes were taken away, replaced with sports. If they want to learn those things, they must find a private source and pay for them. However, affordable education is no longer an entitlement.
The cost of education has risen at an accelerated rate greatly exceeding the rate of wages. When their finances are already stretched to pay for basic cost of living needs, they can’t afford educational venues, let alone things like art and music, which once were an entitlement in our schools. What happened to those educational entitlements?
Persons who claim our youth is entitled are often repeating the disparaging comments of opinion media sources about our children. When I hear someone speak of entitlement, I think of elected officials who give their children official roles for which they are not qualified. I think of religious leaders who act entitled to six-figure salaries from the charities they create. I think of people who feel entitled to receive volunteer services from our youth instead of paying them for their work.
I don’t think spiritual leaders should be criticizing our youth by reiterating the misleading comments of media opinion talk shows. Instead, they should be offering words of encouragement to our youth, defending their entitlements and privileges, and offering guidance for a better future.
My ancestors have served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII and other conflicts up to the Middle East conflicts. Their services to our country have earned the right of their children to enjoy whatever freedoms that they as parents felt they were entitled to enjoy, such as the pursuit of happiness.
As a parent, I think those entitlements are slowing eroding and being taken away from our children. Our military has for centuries defended civil and social rights in pursuit of a better tomorrow. In today’s environment of social conflict, we need to ask who is defending our children’s rights to basic entitlements of education, fare wages, healthcare and representation for their future.
Written by JOHN ELLIS, St. George
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