Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day


Here in the US, it’s Memorial Day. We honor those who died in war with parades and cookouts, baseball games, and going to the beach. Veterans Day, in November, commemorates every service member, living or dead; it’s the day we thank our veterans for their service to this nation. Someone was putting up a fuss about this on Facebook (where else?), saying it was inappropriate to thank veterans for their service on Memorial Day. I don’t think it’s ever the wrong day to thank a veteran, regardless of the “official” meaning of the day. So, veterans, thank you for your service.

When I was younger, Memorial Day was May 30th, regardless of where it fell. If it was a Wednesday, you’d work or go to school on Monday and Tuesday, take Wednesday off, then go back to work or school Thursday and Friday. When the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect in June 1968, it, along with Washington’s Birthday (renamed Presidents Day), Columbus Day, and Veterans Day were moved to Mondays. I remember either the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars (or maybe both) wasn’t happy and demanded that Memorial and Veterans Days be returned to their traditional days. Eventually, they got Veterans Day returned to November 11 (in 1978), and they decided that was a good compromise.

Memorial Day weekend has become the unofficial start of summer, even though it’s about a month before astronomical summer begins, just as Labor Day has become the unofficial end of the season. Another holiday, Independence Day (July 4) serves as the midpoint. Back in the day, we didn’t get out of school until the first week of June (Mom, who taught in the Chicago Public Schools, didn’t get out until the actual start of summer, circa June 20, later when there was a teachers’ strike in the middle of the year) and went back the Wednesday after Labor Day. The kids here in Georgia (and in much of the rest of the country) got out last Friday, and go back the second week of August. They just can’t win: true, the schools are air conditioned, but it’s still the dog days of summer. Guess they need the extra time to get ready for their standardized tests…

I think Canada celebrates Memorial Day today as well. Well, whether you have the day off or not, have a good Memorial Day.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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