Monday, May 28, 2018
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and Labor Day the end of summer. Both are three day weekends in which it is possible to ignore their significance. The 4th of July signifies our Declaration of Independence from the British. Independence still had to be won. Actual independence was not achieved until the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783. Independence was won, but it had to be validated by the War of 1812. The origins of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War as flowers were placed on the graves of the fallen, giving rise to Decoration Day, as we decorate the graves. Congress formally adopted Memorial Day in 1971 as the last Monday in May, giving federal workers, and the rest of us, a three day weekend. Memorial Day is the day for those who died to make us free. Veterans Day salutes those who served. Armed Forces Day recognizes today’s military. Memorial Day is the national holiday. Memorial Day is our way of thanking the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to be free, the freedom such that we can celebrate Memorial Day with a three day weekend, if that’s what we want to do. We can picnic, BBQ, chow down hot dogs and hamburgers, if that’s what we want to do. We can go to the beach. Or the movies. We can vegetate. We can fly flags in front of our house. We can place, the Scouts certainly do, flags on the gravestones of the deceased lying in the military cemeteries. We can watch the annual National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. We can remember our parents and grandparents who served and fought. Let us enjoy the parades. And the pub crawls. We would watch the Indianapolis 500, but that’s been moved back to Saturday. Think of the message the NFL players would have sent had they collectively kneeled at the graves of our fallen heroes? Above all, we give thanks. To those who served. To those currently serving, all volunteers. We should also pray that the military can do something about PTSD.