Hope you’re having a good weekend folks. Many people don’t think about Memorial Day Weekend as, well, a memorial day to honor fallen soldiers. Rather, it has come to signify the first long summer weekend, celebrated with sales at shopping malls and grand barbecues.
How in the world did it happen that we exchanged our collective grief and sorrow over dear fallen heros for a juicy steak and a beer?
What you need to know:
Back when Memorial Day was established in the 1860′s, America was licking its wounds from the civil war. Most people had a family member, friend or neighbor who was a casualty. To put things in perspective, about 2% of the population at the time was killed (Approximately 700,000 men out of 30 million).
Thankfully, the US has not had such a substantial part of its population erased in any conflict since. Many readers of this blog may not even know any soldiers or grieving families. That’s probably a good thing. But America is still fighting for freedom, and there are many families across the nation that are mourning every single day, not just today.
Memorial Day was originally observed on May 30th, but about 40 years ago, was moved along with three other days to a Monday, in order to create long weekends. Various veteran groups are very unhappy about this:
Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.
Since school ends in late May / early June, for many families Memorial Day Weekend is the first opportunity to celebrate summer. And retailers will take any opportunity to sell us something, so why not a long weekend to have yet another sale.
Whether you are out and about traveling today, or grilling some tasty morsels, please pause for a moment to reflect upon the great privileges we have been granted through the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen, no longer with us.