Monday is Memorial Day. This is the first weekend of barbecuing. Monday is the unofficial first day of summer and is the day I will be hearing way too many people wishing me a “Happy Memorial Day.” Three years ago I wrote a blog as a way of educating a few, very few. So many people do not understand what the day is all about. Should we blame their parents, grandparents, or teachers? Should we blame them for not knowing what this day represents? How soon will it be that people have forgotten the significance of December 7th, or even September 11th? All I can say is party on, but please do not wish me a happy day. To me there is nothing happy about someone giving up their life so that I may live free.
This was first published in May, 2017. It still holds true today.
This is the weekend that we should be memorializing, not celebrating. Tomorrow is a day to honor our fallen soldiers, something many of us have forgotten, something many have never known.
Up until 1971 this country honored the men and women who died in the service of this country on May 30th. Then some fool-headed person (politician?) decided to make the day part of a three day weekend with the passing of the National Holiday Act, thus allowing the workers across the nation another long weekend to unwind, destress, and just one more day of recovery from a Saturday that stretched into Monday morning, and not Sunday church. We’ve turned this weekend into the “first day of summer,” and a time to fire up the grill, fill up the ice chest, and turn up the music.
Over a million people have died serving this country. The majority of the dead are lost somewhere in history, remembered, less and less as time goes on, only by their families. Memorial Day is the day we are to quietly honor their memories, not celebrate the coming of another season. Without these brave souls who gave of themselves we would not be enjoying the dwindling freedoms we are afforded in this country.
How many people will stop what they’re doing at 3:00 Monday afternoon for a moment of silence, or tearfully listen to Taps, as a way to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price so that we might live free? Oh? You didn’t know that in 2000 the President signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act that stipulates that we citizens should have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes at 3:00 on Memorial Day? You’ll remember 420, though, won’t you?
Or, did you know that Memorial Day is the only time that the flag is flown at half staff until only noon, and not until nightfall? Oh? You didn’t know that the flag is flown at half staff for our fallen soldiers, or why, or how? So, much is lost to time, and self promotion.
Yes, we, as a society, are so lost within ourselves that many of us have forgotten what it means to honor those who lost their lives in the service of their country. It’s a shame, too. Maybe it’s time we put Memorial Day back where it belongs, May 30th, and just keep this day (the last Monday in May) as “Bar-B-Que Day,” or “First Day of Summer Day,” or “Just Because Day.” What the hell. What’s another holiday to keep us from doing the work we should have done the day before?
There are no amount of words that I can utter to thank the ones who have died so that I might live free. I will never put the word “happy” before the words Memorial Day, and you can be sure that I will offer a moment of silence and a word of prayer for those that paid the ultimate price in their service to this great nation.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.