Today as you go about your day celebrating this mournful holiday with barbecues and beach/pool parties, welcoming the blessed season that is summer; before you say “Happy Memorial Day” to those you come in to contact with, please take a minute or two to consider the point of this day. I know hundreds of people have repeatedly gone on Facebook or various other social media platforms expounding the reason for this day of remembrance versus veterans day and I ask that, if you feel you may not understand exactly why Memorial day was officially declared a holiday in 1971 and would honestly like clarification, do some research. Do some research not only for your own edification but for the benefit of those who have experienced, first hand, why memorial day was declared a national holiday in the first place.
When you wish a veteran, a blue star family member, a survivor or a surviving family member (be them a husband, wife, mother, father, brother or sister) a “Happy Memorial Day” you may be making an already difficult day that much harder. Not everyone wants to celebrate this day being jovial and happy. Some want to mourn the loss of those in their lives who gave everything they had in a strange land in order to ensure this country keeps doing what it wants to do. Whether you believe the military fights for freedom, power, oil reserves or is simply an unstoppable machine which strives to force its ways on other nations; at least honor the fact that those who have died serving this country did so knowing, deep in their hearts, that they were fighting to preserve the country they loved, the way of life they believed in and their family members see no end in sight to the grief of their tragic loss.
Moral of the story, maybe the publically manufactured sentiment “Happy Memorial Day” isn’t the right answer here. I would go so far as to propose no standard greeting; instead, I would suggest going to a cemetery and thanking a fallen soldier “in person”, contacting a grieving family and telling them you’re thinking about them and you’re sorry for their loss, or maybe just adding a moment of silence to your festivities. I don’t want to discourage people from celebrating the beginning of summer or having a great weekend, but please do so with those we’ve lost in conflicts abroad in your thoughts as you do.
SPC Marshall L. Edgerton, thank you for your sacrifice to our country. I’ll never forget the day you left us brother. I hope your family is making it and have been able to make sense of the tragic loss. ‘Til Valhalla