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Remembering the Meaning of Memorial Day
When people think about the last weekend of May, they usually think about it being Memorial Day weekend. It means a long weekend with Monday off from work. It means barbeques and picnics with family. It’s the unofficial start of summer with many people going camping, going out on the lake, or opening their pool. It’s a time for celebration, fun, and games. Happy Memorial Day.
Wrong! While this is what most people associate with Memorial Day, this isn’t what it’s all truly about. The true meaning of the day has been lost and overshadowed by a fun-filled weekend. People may know what the day is for, but they often don’t recognize it.
Memorial Day is a day of recognition for those who have died fighting for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. It’s exactly what the day is called, a memorial; it’s a time to remember those people who have sacrificed their lives for us to enjoy ours. This is the same as any funeral service held for a particular person because that too is a memorial. At a funeral, you do not see people cheering and celebrating. It is time of sadness and remembrance. This same attitude of remembrance and appreciation for those who fought for freedoms should be held on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day has not always been spread out over a long weekend. Memorial Day is really May 30th. It was originally the 30th when it was remembered, but in 1968, Congress turned it into a long weekend, as they did with several other holidays. If you asked most people, they wouldn’t know what’s significant about May 30th because to them, it’s all about the long weekend. Perhaps, Memorial Day should be moved back to the 30th instead of being held as a long weekend. This has been proposed to Congress several times in order to try to put the correct focus back on the day.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a cookout or get together with family on Memorial Day weekend. I’m not saying you can’t have a good time. I’m just asking you to realize the reason behind Memorial Day. Think about all the people who have died fighting for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. If you take your kids to the local Memorial Day parade in your town, explain to them the significance behind it. It’s not to be morbid and think about death, but it’s simply to be grateful to those who have served the nation.
Whether you think all the way back from the Revolutionary War to the present day fighting in Afghanistan, soldiers have given and will continue to give their lives for this great nation. That is the real meaning behind Memorial Day.