Can You Say “Happy Memorial Day”? No. Here’s Why.
Birth2Work Co-founder, father, grandfather, Marine Corps veteran
Enjoy the Time but Remember Why
One of the opportunities we have as parents is to help our children understand the significance of holidays, particularly those that result in schools and offices being closed. Many times, it’s off to the beach or mountains, spending time with family and friends, and time to just relax and unwind. Long holidays are great!
Culturally, we tend precede such holiday weekends with a “Happy XXX!” or “Have a great XXXX!” But that’s not appropriate this weekend. Here’s why.
Memorial Day is a time for remembering the soldiers who have died in service to America.
Started in the 1860s, Memorial Day further gives us time to thank those families who have lost a loved one in service of their country. Designated as gold star families, their loved one has given the ultimate sacrifice to all of us, so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms in America, often called the land of the free, home of the brave.
As you enjoy the holiday, share your thoughts with your children about what Memorial Day and America mean to you. While we, the citizens, don’t always agree in our thoughts and perspectives, America is where we enjoy freedom of speech, freedom to worship as we choose, and the ability to act according to our own will, as long as it doesn’t affect the ability of someone else to act according to their own will.
It’s also a good time to share with our children the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Both are about those who have served, with Memorial Day being a day of remembrance for those who died serving their nation and Veterans Day being a day of thanks for those who have served our nation and were blessed to come back home after their service. We celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th.
So what should you say instead of “Happy Memorial Day”? You can honor the weekend by saying just that, “Have a great long weekend!” But if you are acknowledging the holiday, take a moment to ask the person with whom you are speaking, “Will you be honoring someone this Memorial Day?” Learn their story and that of the fallen. Then wish them a great long weekend.
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