I’ll admit, for me, Memorial Day often represents the first long weekend of the year, the kick-off of summer. I knew it had to do with remembering military service men and women, and I knew that it was a weekend when my parents remembered their lost loved ones.
I never really thought about it beyond that, and I’m ashamed to admit it. But this morning, one of my favorite commercials came on during the news:
I love this commercial, probably because it reminds me of how I used to feel when my dad arrived home from one of his trips. As a pilot in the Air Force, he was often gone for months at a time, and when he arrived home, sometimes by surprise and sometimes not, it was as if all was right with the world again.
So, this commercial prompted me to look up the “real” meaning of Memorial Day. Wikipedia says:
Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
I’m grateful every day that my father always came home, but today, though I do look forward to a long weekend, I’ll remember those men and women who died while serving and the families to whom they didn’t come home.