The other day I happened to see a cartoon clip online that had been devoted to adding commentary to the Memorial Day weekend. It was a two-panel clip. In the first panel the father was barbecuing on the grill and turned to his eagerly awaiting son and daughter. He makes the comment to them that every day should be Memorial Day. In the second panel is the image of a somber family with heads hung down as they mourned the loss of a beloved husband and father. The American flag was encased above the fireplace mantle with the caption stating that for some families, every day is Memorial Day.
That short clip had me thinking very deeply. For many, the true meaning of the holiday never escapes them. For others, it can often become just another three-day weekend reason to break out the barbecue, go to a sale, set off some firecrackers or any number of things that can be done, all without having given the first thought to the reason this holiday even exists.
While I never had the privilege to serve my country in the armed forces, I have grandfathers, uncles, and cousins who have served this country with honor and great valor; some even during times when there were still issues that minorities had to navigate apart from battlefront duties.
I can understand some people for whom remembering can be too great a thing to have to repeat year in and year out. Those are wounds that obviously run deep and need to be dealt with through great empathy. I also understand that as the Late Dr. Myles Munroe has often said, “To not understand the purpose of a thing, abuse is inevitable.” In other words, those who fail to remember why we even have a Memorial Day and why we celebrate it invariably dishonor the day and those for whom it was established to remember.
History often teaches us or reminds us of mistakes of our past. It also records the who’s, why’s and how’s of things that happen. When we remember those things, it hopefully helps us to correct mistakes or helps us to consider how not to repeat them in the present and future.
Memorial Day, according to History.com can be traced back to the Civil War and was originally known as Decoration Day. It was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1971. It is traditionally commemorated by parades, visits to cemeteries and monuments, and even family gatherings.
To forget that lives were sacrificed for every American’s liberties is a slap in the face of those paid the ultimate price for those freedoms to be secured. It’s a great to have great family gatherings, cookouts, and three-day weekends; yet they can be had at any time and you have the freedom and luxury to do that as you please whenever you choose. However, let us never forget why this day exists and whose lives were lost and the many millions more who served this nation dutifully and deserve the honor due them for which this day represents.
QUESTION: Do you think people forget the meaning of Memorial Day? How do you help remind them that it’s not just a party?
- Memorial Day: Honoring America’s fallen (commdiginews.com)
- Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day With Kids in Boston (mommypoppins.com)
- Memorial Day, A Time to Remember Those Who Fought for the US and Died to Protect Our Freedom (blogs.timesofisrael.com)