This shouldn’t have to be a “day to vent” for me or anyone, but I really need to get something off my chest today.
It’s Memorial Day – and I’m concerned as I begin to wonder what’s happening to our country as it gradually declines into a self-centered “participation award” pop pseudo-culture.
PLEASE GET THIS STRAIGHT: We don’t “celebrate” Memorial Day. We “observe” Memorial Day. Huge difference.
Originally called “Decoration Day,” this special day was established post Civil War and observed on May 30th each year, a date chosen because it didn’t conflict with any specific battle.
Gradually, the modern name came into common usage but the holiday wasn’t officially renamed by Federal law until 1967.
In 1968, Congress passed a destructive bill called the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act.” It changed national holidays from their traditional (and meaningful) dates to specific Mondays, resulting in three day weekends – but at the cost of gradually eroding awareness of the actual reasons any of these holidays were established.
There was resistance in some quarters to the change but, by 1971, President Richard Nixon signed an executive order officially moving observance of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. (We also lost Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday to a meaningless Monday called “Presidents’ Day.”) I can forgive Nixon for Watergate sooner than I can forgive him for robbing us and our future generations of the significance of our national holidays.
SO, PLEASE, FOR THE RECORD, LET’S BE CLEAR:
It’s completely inappropriate to wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day!”
Memorial Day is NOT a celebration of anything – including “The beginning of Summer,” “The opening of the pool” or “The firing up of the BBQ.”
Memorial Day is NOT a “Special day to honor all those who served.” (That’s Veterans’ Day).
Memorial Day IS a special day to reflect, give thanks, remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives for our country – and to stand united in respect, support and gratitude for our Gold Star Families who still grieve their enormous losses.
Please take a moment today to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.
We should never forget.