Today is Monday, May 30, 2022.
In the United States, it is Memorial Day, a day in which Americans commemorate (and mourn) the men and women in the armed forces who died in all of the wars this nation has fought.
Although it is a federal holiday and many people have the day off, Memorial Day (which started as Decoration Day in the late 1860s and was originally intended to mourn the dead from the Civil War) was once observed every May 30 until 1970. Since 1971, as a result of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by Congress on June 28, 1968, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in May as one of the four federal holidays that conveniently end a three-day weekend.
Because this is the United States, a nation where holidays that started out as solemn commemorative observances morphed into days where many people just see them as days off from school or work, there will be many of my fellow citizens who will head to the beach, or to a picnic area, or to a store – gotta go to those Memorial Day sales! – or to a multiplex cinema to catch the latest movies.
If that’s “your bag” – as they used to say in the 1960s, at the height of the war that drove a stake into America’s heart and worsened the divide between conservatives and liberals that led us to where we are now as a nation – that’s cool. Enjoy your day off at the beach, your grilled hot dogs, and cold cans of Budweiser.
I just hope that at some point today before you indulge in celebrating what most Americans consider to be “the first day of summer,” you’ll remember that many Americans, who never got to return home safe, grow old, raise a family, and instead died, screaming for their mom on some distant battlefield, giving their last measure of devotion so that we could live in a land which proclaims that it stands for “liberty and justice for all.”