It’s been a few years since I posted this, but I think it bears repeating:
I think the Uniform Monday Holiday Act is a complete travesty, and those who were serving in Congress when it passed should be ashamed of themselves. Turning Memorial Day, which should be observed on May 30th, regardless of the day of the week, into a three-day weekend celebration, has completely detracted from its intended purpose.
Memorial Day is not a party holiday. It’s not a day to get drunk with your friends, to have a long weekend, or even to have a neighborhood barbecue–although, if you were planning on grilling out for dinner, anyway, I certainly can’t complain, because the weather is finally right for it.
Memorial Day is not the “unofficial” start of summer. Not a day to open the pool or have a volleyball tournament. Certainly not a day to spend at the races. Why can’t we give the first full weekend in June that distinction–summer’s official start *is* in June, after all.
Memorial Day is certainly not an excuse for stores to have big three-day sales. We don’t need early birds and night owls and lowest prices of the season this weekend. Not that stores seem to need an actual reason to have a sale anymore, anyway.
Memorial Day is not even the proper day to thank your neighbor who has served in the military. Save that for every other day–they deserve it! But that’s not what Memorial Day is for.
Memorial Day, is, as its name suggests, a day to remember. To remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our great country. To thank their surviving families for making the ultimate sacrifice.
Go to a parade to honor our fallen soldiers today. Visit a memorial or cemetery. Fly your flag at half-staff, but only until noon. Have a moment of silence (preferably at three o’clock, local time), to ponder what some gave, and to thank God for those willing to give their all.
But please, don’t turn this somber day into an excuse to party. There are plenty of other summer days for that. Let today be what it’s supposed to be–a day to commemorate U.S. Service Members who died in military service, and to remember how fortunate we are that there are men and women who have been willing to defend a country full of people they’ve never even met to the bitter end.