Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. Neighborhood pools open to sun lovers, grills are ignited, and our thoughts turn to the delights that the summer weather brings. Everyone values a long weekend. The general mood is one of festivity, so it’s natural to want to wish some one a happy whatever. I find this very awkward on the Memorial Day holiday because of the solemnity of the day and the reason it exists.
Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate those who gave their lives in that bloody conflict. It was officially declared as a day of remembrance in 1868 by General John Logan, the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Several states adopted observance of the holiday until in 1968 it was permanently incorporated into the federal holiday calendar through the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. It is now a day set aside for remembering all soldiers who lost their lives in the service of their country.
Any Monday you can spend with your family instead of at the office is a good day. Do enjoy your time gathering with loved ones, grilling, and splitting open that first deliciously cold watermelon. And yes, be happy. Be happy that our country enjoys a general prosperity that is unmatched around the world.
Don’t forget that the reason we are free to enjoy life’s simple delights is because we have courageous men and women who are willing to stand in harm’s way on our behalf. Be thankful if you’ve been spared the agony of losing a loved one in a war. Amidst the festivity, pause to reflect and pray for those families who have not been spared this grief. The void in their lives will never be filled, but its weight can be lessened through knowing that our nation cares.
The most profound thank you does not come close to countering the pain of the ultimate sacrifice. Nonetheless, our national gratitude for the bravery of those lost is the least we can do. Set aside some time to say a prayer that God will bring rest to the fallen and peace to the loved ones who now live without them.