July 07, 2015
I attended a beautiful ceremony on Memorial Day, conducted by one of the local municipalities. This is the first time in many years that I have participated in an event honoring those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, for our freedoms. The ceremony was stirring and made me wonder how often, how many of us, fail to take the time to truly remember the meaning of Memorial Day.
Over the years, our lives have gotten busier. Sometimes it seems that our lives are moving at warp speed. Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for many, and after the hard winter we endured this year, I am grateful for the weather finally turning. Memorial Day marks three days of fun, the end of the school year, going to the beach, family, friends, relaxation, picnics, travel, and many, many leisure activities. In fact, the retail industry markets Memorial Day as a buying holiday. Yet how many, as they are reveling in the fun and sun, take the time to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day?
During the ceremony, three 8th graders read essays they had written on what Memorial Day means to them. It was very thought provoking. I remembered Memorial Day when I was six. My mother took us to her father’s grave—I can still see all the flags waving on the graves. The image was incredibly powerful.
Memorial Day also provides us with a weekend of great war movies, many filmed during World War II are excellent patriotic and strong propaganda films, and enjoyable to watch. Those made in recent years, like Saving Private Ryan crystalize the horrors of war and have a strong emotional impact. Movies are entertainment, yet some push us to realize how cruel and horrible real life can be and that so many have given the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedoms that allow us to spend the time with our families, enjoy leisure activities, go to the beach, cook out, watch baseball, look forward to an incredible summer on Memorial Day weekend!
Do you remember and acknowledge the true meaning of Memorial Day? Do you think about those that died during the Civil War, the World Wars, Viet Nam, the Middle East, the other wars—some of those that sacrificed may have been friends and or relatives. Some close, some not so close—but they did it for us to enjoy our freedoms.
Now think about the other holidays that we enjoy—do we really remember the true meaning. We often see “He is the reason for the season” at Christmas. I think most do remember and this holiday is truly a family event. Thanksgiving Day has been a day of giving thanks, but has been commercialized to be the kickoff to the Holiday shopping season, and many, many retailers now are open for business on this day. In my mind, Veterans Day has become more of a day when people do remember and pay homage to those that have served us in the Military. I do not recall it being as pronounced decades ago as it is now; maybe because Viet Nam was such an unpopular war. But Veterans are acknowledged now. I really did think people understood and remember the true reason for Independence Day, however I was wrong. Just watch some of the YouTube videos featuring interviews asking questions about why we celebrate Independence Day. Labor Day, now more than ever, signals the end of summer, Back to School, and another retail sales event. New Years Day, for the most part, is a time to celebrate the New Year, however again, retail has made it a shopping event. Martin Luther King Day is remembered—at least by the black community. Presidents Day is a tough one. I think there was more remembering the true meaning when it was Washington’s Birthday—yes we should remember the Father of Our County. Easter is the one Holiday, I believe, that most remember the reason for—at least Christians do. Then you have the family, relationship days of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day—which rightfully so—we all remember.
Remember the true meaning!