Memorial Day is now past and today (Tuesday) feels like a Monday. Some schools are out for the summer and others are winding down. Personally, I believe public schools should start after Labor Day and end on the Friday before Memorial Day. Maybe that’s a column for another day.
It has always been pretty interesting to me to watch and read what people say and do on Memorial Day, and I’m not talking about what the folks do or say after they have been drinking beer and eating barbecue all day on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day and it was held on May 30 of each year. It was a time set aside for the nation “to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.” Notice they said, “war dead.” According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website, “In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May” (Congress loves three-day weekends).
You can read more about the history of Memorial Day HERE.
When I was a child, my parents would load me and a bunch of flowers (some real flowers and some plastic flowers) in the car and head off for a day of decorating graves across northern Missouri and southern Iowa. Some of the graves were for veterans and others were not. My parents and my grandmother decorated the graves and told story after story about the uncle, aunt, grandparent, or cousin’s life whose grave we were visiting. Looking back, I am amazed that my parents remembered where everyone was buried. It was an all-day trip. Continue reading