What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

03 June 2011


This past Monday was Memorial Day here in the U.S., a day considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer. Most people celebrate with barbecues, picnics, and possibly by flying the flag. A few might have a parade or go to a cemetery. But despite its name, I'm not convinced that most people give more than nominal attention to the "Memorial" part (in fact, many of the websites I perused while reading up on Memorial Day said as much).

I went looking for the origin of Memorial Day because I've always thought of it as being connected to WWII in a similar way as Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) is connected to WWI. I was wrong; it turns out that Decoration Day, the precursor to Memorial Day, was for those who fell in the American Civil War and, unlike Veterans Day, was specifically chosen not to be an exact commemoration of a particular significant date. It wasn't until after the World Wars that the day was changed to remember all of our war dead.

And maybe the lack of a proper anniversary is why Memorial Day is not particularly significant to me; I'm more of a Remembrance Day kind of gal myself. And the point, I think, is not that we must all do the same things or think the same thoughts, but just like every other day of the year, it means different things to different people. So I hope that if Memorial Day wasn't your day to pause and consider those who paid the ultimate price in the service of their nation, that you choose a day that is significant to you. Because there is a time for serious thoughts as well as a time for silly ones.

What did you do for Memorial Day? Or, if you're not from the US, what day is significant for you to honour those who gave their lives for your nation?


Anonymous said...

We have Remembrance Day in Canada..nov 11...usually cold rainy and windy....we have two minutes silence no matter where we are or what we are doing...it is NOT a day off which I think is what keeps it special.

Su said...

I'm not really clear on why we don't do the two minutes of silence in the US on 11/11. I've read older stories so I know that it was common practise once upon a time. Maybe just immediately after the war years? That's always been a bit of a mystery to me. Actually I asked my Canadian friend about it a couple of years ago; she's been in the US for many years now and she still thinks it's shocking that we don't observe the silence.

JEFritz said...

I think you make an interesting point when you say the days mean different things to different people. The day I think about sacrifice most is probably July 4, another day filled with barbecues and fireworks. I don't know why that's the day I think of all the sacrifices...it just is. I guess everyone has their moment.

a runners' life said...

In Australia we have Anzac Day on April 25th. It's the day we remember the Australia and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in WWI. A lot of people get involved and there are parades throughout the day, starting at about 5am.

Su said...

@JE: Cool. It's not like we have a shortage of national holidays.

@Runner: I've seen Anzac Day on the calendar, but have never looked up what it's about. Good to know!