I read a really eye opening article today on NPR about Memorial day that I wanted to share with you. The general premise of the article is about how veterans feel that Memorial day has become lost in translation. I too am guilty for immediately associating Memorial day weekend with cook outs, beach trips and the unofficial start of summer. So I figured I would do some research into the origin and meaning of the holiday meant to honor those who died serving.
Memorial Day in the US has its origins from the Civil War and was then known as a “Decoration Day”. It stemmed from the desire to honor those lost in war. General John Logan selected the original date of May 30th to honor those fallen because there were not battles that day. It wasn’t until 1971 that it became a national holiday and was set to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.
A consistent theme throughout the article is how we should not say “thank you” or celebrate Memorial day as a joyous occasion because Memorial day serves a very different purpose from Veterans day. This really resonated with me. Veterans day is to honor all who have served in the armed forces where Memorial day is in remembrance of those who died serving. I honestly had never really thought about it like that before… We just use a blanket statement like “Happy Memorial Day” when in reality there are many Americans who use this day to reflect and remember those lives lost. Saying “Happy Memorial day” now just sounds very insensitive.
Although I feel that a simple “thank you” is never wrong, on Memorial day, Veterans and family members may be mourning and it is important to keep that in mind.
I hope this encourages you to be respectful in how you choose to spend your Memorial day. May we always remember the sacrifices made for our beautiful country. Today we honor those who lost their lives for us. Never take for granted the soil you stand on. Proud to be an American.