For as long as I can remember, I've been a little uncomfortable with the celebratory atmosphere of Memorial Day. In recent years, my uneasiness has only intensified.
The barbecues, picnics, volleyball games and the fireworks display we had here, don't seem appropriate for a day set aside to honor and remember the dead and to remember the great losses that many families have experienced. So I was relieved to run across an article in the Chicago Tribune, What Gold Star families want you to know.
Memorial Day wasn't a National Holiday until 1971, when the last Monday in May was designated a federal holiday. From its inception after the Civil War until 1971, Memorial Day was a state holiday that fell on different dates depending upon the state. I wonder if it was a mistake to designate the last Monday in May, giving us a long holiday weekend. Perhaps that sends the wrong message. Memorial Day shouldn't be about us or our convenience; it's about those who died for us.
How would you feel about a 911 holiday weekend with barbecues, drinking and partying? I don't see the difference.