Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Memorial Day in America

We have been blessed with some gorgeous weekend throughout the Garden State for most of this extended holiday weekend, which is simply great news for all of us who have spent (and intend perhaps to spend some more) time in the company of family and friends. It is great news for the folks whose ability to survive for the next twelve months is directly related to their ability to thrive during the next three. And it is of course a nice way to shake off those wintertime blues and look forward with anticipation to the summer and the promise that it holds.

We all should take more than a moment today, however, to remember that we are not simply marking "the unofficial start to summer" or some such thing on this final Monday in May. We are observing a day set aside on the calendar to honor those whose sacrifice in the service of this country we all love and call home was absolute. We cannot celebrate that which is to come without paying tribute to all those who gave their lives so that we might have the chance to celebrate.

This day, which should be among the most sacred in a nation born out of the fire of ideals such as, "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Perhaps it is the fact that Memorial Day has a place but not a fixed date upon the calendar. It has become one of our holidays of convenience - the bridge to a long weekend. If Christmas or the Fourth of July happens to fall in the middle of the week, then we celebrate the day where it falls. We play it where it lays, as it were. Memorial Day receives no such treatment. It is assigned a location, which has been co-opted into a base camp for 50% men's suits sales, big Hollywood movie premieres and summer blastoffs for radio stations from sea to shining sea.

And while there is not a thing wrong with any of the above, it must be remembered that all are but ancillary benefits of this day - and neither its purpose nor its origin. At some point today, between bites of our corn on the cob, let us all take the time to give thanks to all those who made today a day worth honoring and worth celebrating.

Everybody drive real slow.


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