Today is Memorial Day in the United States. The holiday that grew out of a Civil War veterans organization’s commitment to honor their fallen comrades. Initially called “Decoration Day,” Union veterans picked May 30 to place flowers on the graves of soldiers in a somber ceremony. This continued for over a century until Congress declared Memorial Day an official holiday to take place on the last Monday of May.
Like many holidays, Memorial Day has lost some of its meaning to the general public. It is widely regarded as the unofficial start to summer, with greetings such as “happy Memorial Day” that are a bit incongruous with the solemnity of the occasion. This, in turn, has led to some dedicated people (often veterans) who scold those who forget the seriousness of the day.
I propose a middle ground. Enjoy your day off. Have friends over for a BBQ. Spend some time outside in the nice weather and look forward to the summer. But at some point during your long weekend, take a moment to remember the 33 Americans who, since the last Memorial Day, have sacrificed their lives for our way of life.