I dunno, I seem to have missed the boat somewhere along the line. That is, I guess I forgot what Memorial Day is all about. I thought it was supposed to be a day of remembrance, a day to quietly pay tribute to those who payed the highest price one can to protect our country.
But one look at the media and it’s obvious I was wrong.
Memorial Day is nothing more than a long weekend where we can go to the mountains, the beach, or, more importantly, to the mall.
BIG MEMORIAL DAY SALE!!! Go to the mall early and stay late. The more you spend the more you save!! Buy, buy, buy! We don’t need to do anything to remember the ones who made our trip to the mall possible and safe as long as we buy something with an American Flag on it. That way, we will be able to convince ourselves that throwing money at the big box stores is the right thing to do. (By the way, the marketers don’t want you to figure this out, but it is actually the case that the more you avoid spending the more you save. Just thought you might like to know.)
It seems that the marketers have decided we need to shift our priorities. Memorial day is no longer about quiet reflection and thanksgiving for fallen heroes, it’s now a party day. A day to shop until we drop! A day to enhance the bottom line for corporate America. A day to show our patriotism by waving the flag, chanting USA! USA! and spending money.
Don’t get me wrong: Waving the flag and chanting are good things to do. They should just be done in the right way at the right time. Flag Day, Independence Day, Armed Forces Day, those are days for celebrating and shouting out our patriotic chants, not a day set aside for reflection and remembrance: Not Memorial Day. Remember: the proper way to display the flag on Memorial Day is to fly it at half mast (raise it to the top of the flagpole, then drop it to half mast. At the end of the day, raise the flag to the top, then lower it and fold it for tomorrow’s use).
Not many of us would walk into a cathedral, a synagog or a cemetery, crack open a beer and start charring steaks while cheering for our favorite team or race car driver. Most people wouldn’t bring their laptop to a funeral and order a new pair of shoes or a new camera (not even me).
I’ve been taught that Memorial Day is an observance much like a funeral. A time to mourn the heroes who gave everything on behalf of the rest of us and a time to be thankful that they had the courage to stand between us and an enemy who was trying to change our country irrevocably and permanently. Yes, it’s even a time to celebrate the fact that they lived among us. But some celebrations are more solemn than the noisy car race, the endless ball games or the weekly sale of the century. Some actions are better saluted quietly.
More to follow