Happy? Memorial Day

For most of us, Memorial Day is the launch of summer. Our neighborhood pools open. Picnics and bbq’s abound. Maybe we’ll even shop the big sales.

For Memorial Day, I wish you peace.For most of us, the meaning of Memorial Day is so far from our minds that we don’t bat an eye when someone wishes us a “Happy Memorial Day.”

Memorial Day isn’t happy.  It needn’t be morbidly depressing, but happy?  That doesn’t quite capture it.

I’m grateful for the sacrifices made by members of our military, but happy?  No, I’m not happy.

Often, I think of their loved ones as those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  They live with their loss every day, those husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends, siblings, lovers.

I imagine it is even harder on the day that has been set aside for remembrance, to see that so many of us do not care to remember at all.

So, what do we say?  I’m choosing peace.

I wish you peace this Memorial Day weekend, and I pray for the safety of those who serve the cause of liberty.


10 thoughts on “Happy? Memorial Day

  1. I grew up in a military family. Cousins, uncles, grandpas, my dad…all in the military. It’s strange in a way how the holiday has not been a big deal to us. It seems like some of the people who have served in the military don’t always want to remember their service. They don’t always feel proud about it or maybe don’t look back at that time in their lives fondly. I am not sure why exactly, but this holiday hasn’t really been acknowledged beyond the occasional cook-out among my family members.

    It’s weird how we make every holiday about shopping. I often wonder when that began.

  2. I’ve been venting out this very thing on Facebook all day.

    Today is Memorial Day. NOT “happy” Memorial Day. It’s not about cookouts, the beach, or even the armed forces who are still with us. It’s about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our great country. Today we honor the fallen.

    Saying “Happy” Memorial Day is like saying “Happy Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance” (9/11). Any day in which the Stars & Stripes should be displayed at half staff should not be preceded by the word “happy”.

    I don’t have a problem at all with people marking the day with cookouts, and family gatherings. I just don’t believe that “commemorate” equates “happy”. I am ETERNALLY THANKFUL these men & women chose to serve our country and gave their lives in service of our country, but I am not HAPPY that these men & women had to give their lives for it.

    I have been fortunate not to have lost any loved ones in combat, but my father retired from the Army with 22 years of service and my husband retired from the Army with 24 years of service. I have yet to see any type of official military statement about Memorial Day preceded with the word “Happy”.

  3. I suppose this holiday is more about remembering. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “Recessional” and I am always reminded of the line he used repeatedly:

    “Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!”

    Sometimes it seems to me that we need to be sad and remember the bad so we will not continue repeating the same mistake over and over.

    But you are so right…happy is not a word I would use on this day.

    Be well.


  4. at 60 i am old enough to remember when everything was closed on memorial day. the dads in the neighborhood went out for milk, bread, diapers and gas on saturday since there would be no stocking up for next two days. small town parades and barbecues. at first its just a day off school but when there is nothing to do but watch the parade and listen to the speeches, a child learns what memorial day is. the sorrow, the bravery, the sacrifice and the gratitude. it stays with you. if there is a disconnect now, i believe it started the first time one store, one gas station, one restaurant opened on that day.

    • I hadn’t thought about this, but you are right. As soon as we gave people the option of shopping and going about as if it were any other day, that is what they did.

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