Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day, or Solemn Memorial Day?

In the last several days some of my friends have wished me "Happy Memorial Day." Well-intentioned as they were, they've 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 volunteers decorated the graves of the fallen with flowers --  Memorial Day is not a day for barbeques, 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/or deed how much the dead have paid . . .  and how much we owe.

Just as the day the United States of America was born on Independence Day -- not the "Fourth of July" -- and should be celebrated with fireworks, patriotic songs, and loud band concerts, Memorial Day is too solemn an occasion for joy.

Requiescat in pace