Monday is Memorial Day. If you live in the US, I’m sure you’ve noticed the picnic foods and the stars and stripes plates, napkins, and clothes. Are you having a picnic Monday? If you are, I wish you a good time, good weather, and safety on the roads.
Memorial Day hasn’t always been about barbeques, alcohol, bikinis, camping, and even the Indianapolis 500.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day. I’m sure you’ve seen footage of the flags at military cemeteries around the country, the president laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, and watched one of the military themed specials on television. But then you go back to your picnics, don’t you?
There’s nothing wrong with picnics with family and friends over a long weekend, just try not to lose the real purpose of the day.
Memorial Day was first proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic when he ordered that, on May 30, flowers be placed on all graves, both Union and Confederate, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Until 1971, Memorial Day was always May 30 and May 30 alone. The National Holiday Act of 1971 changed things, though, ensuring a three day weekend for all national holidays – of which Memorial Day was one. (source)
All I’ll say is … have your picnic and spend safe, happy times with family and friends. But, somewhere in your weekend, take a few minutes to think about the sacrifices so many men and women have made for this country, ensuring that we have a three day weekend and the freedom to do whatever we want on those days. That’s not too much to ask, is it?