Can You Say “Happy Memorial Day”? No. Here’s Why.
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 to precede such holiday weekends with a “Happy XXX!” or “Have a great XXXX!” But that’s not appropriate this weekend. Here’s why.
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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Rick Stephens is a co-founder of Birth2Work. With 33 years of experience as a top-level executive at The Boeing Company and having raised four children of his own, he is able to support parents and grandparents by incorporating his knowledge of business, leadership, and complex systems into the family setting. In his “free time” Rick enjoys road biking, scuba diving, visiting his grandkids, and generally trying to figure out which time zone he’s in this week. Read full bio >>
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