Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, 2010: a Long Weekend - and Something Else

"About the Memorial Day Site"
A Catholic Cappuccino, Please! (May 28, 2010)

"This site was created to help promote the return of the original intent and meaning back to Memorial Day, to be a central point for finding information on the day, and to provide an online community for people to share their feelings, pride, respect and honor for those that gave their all. This site also promotes restoring the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day to the 30th of May.

"Why is this needed? Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance, a day where we in America go to cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It is a day where we remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice...."

Memorial Day seems to be a mostly-American holiday, although I suspect that quite a few countries have similar observances. There's a history of Memorial Day on the website: "Memorial Day History." I've done the same thing, on my Brendan's Island website: "Memorial Day," along with maybe thousands of other folks.

The blog I quoted, A Catholic Cappuccino, Please!, has a - vivid? - unconventional? - color scheme: and I don't think you'll quickly forget the background artwork. Unlike some 'artistic' blogs and websites, though - it's readable.

Where was I? Memorial Day, right.

I agree that there's more to Memorial Day than kicking back and relaxing - or contributing to gridlock on some freeway. On the other hand, I'm not convinced that changing the date of the observance will make people get back to the 'true meaning' of the holiday.

And, although my opinion is that many Americans don't use the three day weekend for somber observances - I'm not all that bothered by the R&R that's going on.

For one thing, change happens. This isn't 1867, or 1915, or 1951. Americans simply don't act like people living in the Victorian Age, or during the Great War, or in the era of Happy Days. I'm not at all convinced that even the United States of America's Federal government can turn back time and force people to feel like participating in suitably somber observances. Not even by taking away the start-of-summer three-day weekend.

Besides, I think the folks who relax and enjoy the beginning of summer when they 'should be' going to cemeteries or standing at attention are - consciously or not - taking advice from one of this country's earlier citizens. As I wrote last year:

"Carved on the tomb of explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809):

"Immaturus obi: sed to felicior annos
"Vivemeos, Bona Republica! Vive tuos

"(I died young; but thou, O Good Republic, be more fortunate,
Live out my years! Live your own.)

I can think of few better ways to affirm and celebrate what so many of our citizens died to preserve, than living the life of freedom and comparative prosperity they defended.

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