thinking deeper

Losing the “Memorial” in this weekend

I’m going to tell you about the visit I had with my sister. I’m going to tell you about J’s birthday, too. I promise.

But I also want to tell you that I’m a little disturbed at the number of people wishing me (and everyone else) a “Happy Memorial Day.”

Let’s think about this for just a moment. A “memorial” is something to remember a person or thing no longer with us; this means that “Memorial Day” is meant to honor people who are not with us, and specifically the 650,000 Americans who have died in defense of the country since the Revolutionary War.

People also seem to think this is a day to thank service members. Veteran’s Day is to thank those who serve; Memorial Day is a day to remember those who sacrificed. There is a difference, though I’m sure some will say I’m nitpicking.

My point is, that while I feel humbled and appreciative, “happy” is not the way I’d choose to describe Memorial Day. No one says “Happy Funeral Day” to someone who’s lost a loved one, but each and every one of the service members who died for this country was someone’s loved one. In the middle of our barbeques and trips to the beach, I think we should take a minute and remember what a memorial really is, and be thankful for the amazing freedoms we enjoy thanks to those who defend them and us.

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