Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy Memorial Day, or solemn Memorial Day?

In the last several days, people have begun to wish me "Happy Memorial Day." Well intentioned as they were, they made a serious mistake.

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is a federal holiday established to remember those who died while members of the United States of America's armed forces (unlike Veterans' Day, which celebrates all those who served).

With its genesis in Decoration Day -- when years ago volunteers decorated the graves of the fallen with flowers -- Memorial Day is not a day for barbecues, baseball games, or used car sales. It's a day for all Americans -- those of us who wore our Nation's uniform, and those who were not so privileged -- to memorialize by thought and deed the heavy price the dead have paid . . .  and how much we owe them for what they lost in every war spanning the Revolution two centuries ago to the conflict last week in Syria. 

Memorial Day is very different from America's birthday. Independence Day -- not the "Fourth of July" -- should be celebrated with fireworks, patriotic songs, and loud band concerts. 

But not Memorial Day, a time of remembrance too solemn an occasion to be "happy."

Requiescat in pace

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