The south refused to acknowledge the holiday until after WW1, when it was modified to honor all Americans who died in any war.
Wonder if memorial day could be modified to honor all the dead killed in our wars. For example. 58,000 US soldiers were killed and 350,00 wounded in Vietnam while 2 million Vietnamese were killed and 3 million wounded. The vietnam memorial in DC would be a monstrous monument generating horror, as, perhaps, all war monuments should.
Honoring our own dead and those of our allies (ie Pakistan 35,000 thus-far) and adversaries might be a step towards reconciliation and a jump towards ending war as a primary method for the US in resolving disputes.
I think some people DO make that little bit of a leap to honor ALL veterans, all soldiers, all who pay the price of anyone's war.
I usually take memorial day to remember and honor my father (who, although he was a veteran, this day was his birthday and it's easy for me to remember him ).
And when I am sitting in contemplation or lighting a candle, my thoughts naturally lead to others. Those affected by wars, injustice, poverty, etc. All of those things I wish were different.
And as I think about your post a metta prayer comes to mind...
May all beings be safe
May all beings be happy
May all beings be healthy
May all beings be content
May all beings love themselves completely
And with great kindness
Just as they are now
No matter what happens