The calendar says Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. Most people think of it as the unofficial start of summer, a three-day weekend (yahoo!) and the chance to fire up the barbeque for the first time since winter. For those of us who work at Marcum, Memorial Day is actually the first holiday since New Year's when our offices are closed. Due to the seasonal nature of our business, we don't close for any of the earlier national holidays, such as Martin Luther King Day or President's Day. So, most of us really look forward to Memorial Day, and many use the opportunity to add Friday to the mix to make it a four-day weekend.
But as we rush to luxuriate in our well-deserved time off from work, I'm hoping we all remember Memorial Day's true meaning and reflect on its significance to our country. The first Memorial Day dates back to May 30, 1868 in Waterloo, NY. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was a "day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service."
Our cemeteries are filled with too many fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in order for the rest of us to be able to enjoy the freedoms that being Americans afford us. The total increases on a daily basis. But it's not only those who have given their lives that we need to remember; we also need to acknowledge and thank our veterans and those who continue to serve, especially those who have been injured while defending our country and whose lives have been forever changed as a result. Our service men and women are owed a tremendous debt by the rest of us. If not for their sacrifices, life would be different for all of us. The U.S. armed forces are the best in the world, period. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
While my own barbeque will be fired up all weekend, with family and friends enjoying our holiday together, my wife and I will also take time out from socializing to take our four-year-old and two-year-old daughters to the annual Memorial Day parade in our community. It's everything you'd expect from a small town: fire trucks, police cars, American flags, the high school marching band, and armed services veterans marching the parade route. The ritual lets us pay tribute to those who deserve our recognition, respect and thanks the most.
No matter how you and your family celebrate this holiday weekend, please take time to remember the men and women of our armed services who made whatever sacrifices they had to in order to serve our country, so that we may enjoy the freedoms that make being an American such a privilege.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!