Memorial Day is not about your three day weekend. It is not about your hamburgers. Memorial Day is not about opening your pool. It isn’t about throwing parties, beer and fun. Memorial Day is about remembering. There is nothing wrong with throwing parties and having cook-outs or opening your pool on this weekend, but please just take a moment to think about WHY you get this three day weekend.
Memorial Day was first widely celebrated shortly after the Civil War in 1868. General John Logan declared in his General Order 11 that, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.” (http://www.history.com/topics/memorial-day-history)
In 1971 it became on official US holiday. Obviously through the 100+ years of celebration, we have mostly lost focus of what it truly means. I doubt many people will decorate war graves. I doubt many people will even THINK of the grave of a soldier this weekend. I know that almost everyone who has served will though. I know that anyone who has spent time in a country where the flying of our flag and singing of our anthem will.
This weekend, please take a moment to think about those who left their lives on the battle ground. Think of those who lost their innocence doing the things Americans don’t want to read about or think about. Take a moment to think about the mothers who will never see their son or daughter again. Think about the children who will never get to have their mom pick on them in front of their prom dates, or who will never have their father home to throw ball with them again. Think about the men and women who didn’t live long enough to marry, have children, buy their first house. Think about, and be thankful for what they did. This holiday does not require your support for any of our wars, only your remembrance, and memorializing of those who gave their all.