Today is Memorial Day, as most all of you are probably aware. Memorial Day is a national holiday that takes place on the last Monday of May every year. For many people, Memorial Day marks the start of summer. It means sales, a three day weekend, a major car race. I was recently reminded what Memorial Day is supposed to mean. I'm not trying to knock celebrating a three day weekend for anyone, because holidays will always shift to being observed in whatever way the public observes them.
The important thing to remember, through all of the celebration, is what Memorial Day actually represents. Memorial Day is not a celebratory holiday, it's an honorary one. We honor those who have lost their lives in the service of this country. For many service men and women and veterans, Memorial Day is a very hard day. It is a day of remembrance, brought home to me every year when a 21-gun salute and Taps are performed during the pre-race ceremonies in Indy. A serviceman I follow on Twitter posted this weekend discouraging people from wishing veterans and servicemen and women "Happy Memorial Day." He went on to say that Memorial Day is not intended to be a happy holiday, but a solemn one. While he may not speak for all in his position, I think that his opinion is more than important enough to heed.
When you see the bunting and flags coming out around houses today for cookouts and to start summer, remember what those truly represent. If you've lost someone, use today (or any day) to remember their sacrifice, and the sacrifices made by those that you did not know. Celebrate their lives and the freedoms which have been upheld at their cost, but remember that this holiday is not one that celebrates a victory, a birth of a nation, a life, but that it is one to remember those who have given everything for the betterment of others.
If you see a veteran or service person today, or any day, and you feel the desire to thank them for their service, do so genuinely. Thoughtless platitudes can make us feel better on the inside, but when you remember what they have been through and what they may have lost, the thoughtful eye contact or stronger handshake become worth it. Truly mean what you are saying, or you'd might as well not say it at all.
To all readers of Cardinal Couple, I encourage you to take a moment today with your friends and family or with whomever you may gather, and stop to remember what today truly means. Have a safe Memorial Day.
Until next time, Go Cards.