Don’t Say “Happy” Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day. Yes, it is the unofficial start of summer, which brings about a lot of joy and celebration, but the reason for the day is a most somber one. Remembering soldiers lost in battle is worthy of a day, but is the end of May the right time of year?

In the commonwealth countries they call this kind of day Remembrance Day. Citizens wear red paper poppies to remind everyone to remember the lost. Remembrance Day is held on November 11, the day of the end of the hostilities of World War I. Being held in November means that it is not a day for picnics, or swimming or barbecues so there is no confusion about the reason for the day.

I notice that around here lots of people say, Happy Memorial Day. I am guilty of this too, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. If I had been a soldier who was killed in battle I would just want to be remembered.

I am lucky that I don’t have any close relatives who were lost in war. The veterans in my family made it home and have Veterans Day to celebrate them. Nonetheless, even though I didn’t have any singular person to remember, I did take a few moments to think about the sacrifices made by families who did lose a loved one serving in our military. To them I could not imagine saying, “Happy Memorial Day.” What is happy about losing your family?

So maybe we should move Memorial Day to a time of year when we aren’t tempted to celebrate summer at the same time. We could switch President’s Day in February with Memorial Day in May. All those dead President’s won’t care since we already combined George and Abraham’s birthdays into one day.

If you are someone who lost a solider in war, thank you for your sacrifice. This day is in many ways for you too. Not really a happy day.



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