Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day...and what it isn't

Memorial Day Quiz: 
True or False:
Memorial Day became a National Holiday so everyone could have a day off from work so they can kick back and relax in the yard because it is almost summer?

Answer: False.

(And apparently God decided to send us snow this morning to make the point that the day isn't designed only to re-acquaint us with lounging in the back yard.  Can you believe we have SNOW???)

True or False:  Memorial Day was declared an National Holiday so everyone could go outside and grill up some meat and invite family and friends over for a barbecue.

Answer:  False.

Although having family and friends gather together on this day would be appropriate.  Again, around here, we will not be making eating outside a focus of our day because of mixed up weather systems.

True or False:

Memorial Day was created so we could all go to Mt. Olympus and meet Greek gods.

Answer:  False.

Our local Mt. Olympus has too much snow on it to climb today, and the Greek gods are false gods that foolish people worshipped long ago. 

True or False:

One should always keep an eye on the foothills because we might suddenly be attacked by some foreign invader coming down the trails to plunder and pillage one's town.

Answer: False

Thanks to the excellent work done by America's Armed Forces, there is no need to worry about foreign invaders coming over the hills to harm us.

So what is Memorial Day really all about?
Please come join me in my living room and let's talk about it.
Maybe like me, you are wondering about what this day has become.
Lately it all seems really mixed up, like snowfall on the last day of May.
I've heard folks say it is the day we remember our dead.
That's is partly right...originally the day was called Decoration Day, because it was to be the day people were to go to the cemetery to decorate graves and remember those who were lost during the sorrowful times when America was divided and fought a "civil" war.

The graves of those who fought on both sides of the conflict were decorated.  It was part of our nation's healing to do so. 

When other losses from other conflicts filled our soil with heroes, those graves were included on the Day of Decoration, which later became known as Memorial Day;  the day to remember those in the military who had fallen during war times.

(It isn't a day to specifically remember and honor our all Veterans, as much as popular culture seems to promote it as such. This past Sunday's comic strips had several such alternative definitions promoted. There really isn't a day that shouldn't be used honoring our Veterans; there is however another National Day, called Veteran's Day, in November, that is set aside specifically for doing that.) 

Today I won't be going to decorate any grave.  Instead I will spend time praying for the families who have had a dear one served our country and who then paid the ultimate price for my freedom.
I will be aware that any gatherings or outside activities done today can be done in safety due to a sacrifice.
The sacrifice for some they feel comforted that much of America and lots of the world plays in freedom today because of their loved one's death?

In a rather mixed up way, I mourn the loss of anyone due to war while at the same moment I am aware how blessed I am that there is no grave of a fallen love one of my own to visit today.

In my heart of hearts though, every  Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Guard who died for my country became in an instant a loved ones of my own too.


ellen b. said...

Great explanation Jill. SNOW on the last day of May...yikes!
Our flag is flying at half staff until noon today and then we'll raise it. Katie and I are going to go to a local cemetery that decorates their graves and drives with U.S. flags...

Vicki said...

The snow is amazing, especially since it's a shorts and sandals type of day over here.

Thank you for posting this explanation. Several things about the more recent Memorial Day "traditions" tend to irk me. I cringe every time I hear someone wish me a "HAPPY Memorial Day." HUH?? I also spent a lot of time recently explaining to someone the origins of the Day and that it isn't a day to honor ALL those who served, nor is it a day for decorating the graves of relatives like grandma (unless she died during a war while in active duty service to our country). However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with decorating the grave of a loved one on Memorial Day or any day of the year.

I, too, am thankful for those "who gave all," and equally thankful that I do not have a dear friend or relative to pay tribute to on this day.

Kathy said...

Snow in just should not be....but then who am I to tell the Maker what to send.
I enjoyed reading your Memorial Day post. Those who serve have given so much for the freedom of others. It is so important to recognize these men and women for their service.

Lovella ♥ said...

I felt quite proud of myself for being a Canadian and still aceing the quiz. Your photos are stunning. Thanks for letting us sit in your front room with us and chatting about what this day really doe mean.

Vee said...

Yes, a wonderful official explanation. I wonder if there's an official explanation for the snow, which I am finding abominable on your behalf.

a woman who is said...

Excellent post. My sentiments exactly in appreciation for all who have fallen for our freedom.

I CANNOT believe your snow, and all your wonderful flowers and yummy looking lettuce! Crazy crazy!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Now that was a nice living room chat...and an informative one. Next year...could we sit out on the deck at your Memorial Day get-together?

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

What a great post. So many people today do not have a clue as to what Memorial Day was supposed to be for -- or Decoration Day as I grew up knowing what it was. Sorta wish they'd left it with that name.