As this Memorial Day is quickly approaching, I feel very compelled with the need to “educate” some folks on what Memorial Day is. With each year that passes, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that my generation has (for the most part) literally no clue what Memorial Day is all about. What does Memorial Day mean to you?
The first reminder (outside of my family) that Memorial Day is coming up, came from facebook… a recipe fanpage that I am a fan of, posted something along the lines of “This weekend is all about the grill, which do you like better, charcoal or gas?” Out of the 78 replies that I scrolled through, only one person thought to point out what the day is for, aside from myself.
The next clue was in my email today… RC Willey has Avatar on Blue Ray, half off for Memorial Day. It means that Osh has a 15% off coupon, and that BloomingBulb.com’s “blowout sale” got extended an extra day, or that I can get 20% off my entire purchase at H&M. Oh and let’s not forget, it’s is a 3 day weekend, marking the beginning of summer. Camping season, boating season, party season. But none of these things are what Memorial Day is about, and I truly don’t think that some people even know what it is about.
I remember as a child my mother and grandmother took us to the cemetary every year on Memorial Day, and we put flowers on the graves of relatives buried there. The thing is, while that is fine and dandy, that is not even what the day is intended to be, so here it is: Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day, and in the United States dates all the way back to the Civil War. Specifically it was a day, which many towns recognized separately, particularly in the South, when mainly the women would visit the graves, often in the physical battlefields where soldiers were buried, to decorate the graves, and remember those lost to the war. The first “Official” Memorial Day on a national level was May 30, 1968 and was proclaimed by General John Logan, and was marked by the laying of the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetary, for both Union and Confederate Soldiers, and has continued ever since.
I know what I think of on Memorial Day: It is the first and thankfully only Military Funeral I have had to attend. It is the fact that possibly the cutest little girl I have ever seen, will probably know her father only from pictures and stories. It is the fact that I have never met my Uncle, since he was lost after Vietnam, although not physically. It is those remaining veterans of the Greatest Generation that I am honored to have met through the MOPH, and those like my husband who were seriously injured in our ongoing War on Terror.
So anyway, my whole point to this, to make it short, is that Memorial Day is a day of observance, decoration, and reflection for those who have died IN SERVICE TO THIS COUNTRY. Not just a party day, a day of great shopping deals, or even just a day to remember family members. It is much more sacred than that.