Average Jane

“Happy” Memorial Day?

I made the mistake of wishing someone a Happy Good Friday once. This somberest of days in the Christian tradition is just a Friday for me. A Friday with very little morning traffic. A Friday typically before a long weekend. I didn’t know I had put my foot in it until a friend pulled me to the side and mentioned it wasn’t, perhaps, so happy at all.

And so it is with Memorial Day. I was riding by bike by Arlington Cemetery this morning and saw one small flag beside every single tombstone. Thousands of them. Thousands. And I saw the vets on their motorcycles, hundreds of them, leathered faces and leather jackets. And I thought to myself, this is Memorial Day. There are people we are remembering. It is not happy.

As I hear people wishing each other a Happy Memorial Day as they pack their cars and head to the beach, it gives me pause. Go enjoy the beach, the booze, the bbq – but remember why you can. Because they fought. And fight. And will fight for you and millions of other strangers who they will never meet, and who will never thank them for their service.



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  1. * Mad Cabbie says:

    My Dad was a Vietnam Vet, and for years he never liked when people said “Happy Memorial Day!”. Something changed few years before he passed away, he started saying “Happy Memorial Day” himself!

    When I asked why change of heart? His answer was, “It’s a privilege to die for your country and these warriors should be congratulated for their ultimate sacrifices.”

    I still don’t wish people by saying “Happy Memorial Day” for obvious reasons.

    Great post!

    | Reply Posted 7 years ago
  2. Memorial Day is such a strange holiday. It’s a different thing for everyone. For those who have lost someone or served, it’s a somber reminder of all that’s been lost and for those who have never lost anyone, it’s just a day off or the top BBQ day of the year.

    | Reply Posted 7 years ago
  3. * Liz says:

    Excellent post … seriously, I found 2nd paragraph profoundly moving.

    | Reply Posted 7 years ago

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