Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! When I was a child Memorial Day was a big event. Growing up in a small town, there was always a Memorial Day parade followed by a community picnic in the park, and it was a wonderful time for the younger generation to hear stories about those who came before them.

As I got older, I either rode or drove my white Appaloosa mare, Snoqualmie, in the parade and we always had a great time. She seemed to think the people who were lined up on the sides of the street were there just to see her and she had a great time prancing slowly and respectfully for all her admirers.

Today, this day of national celebration seems either to be an excuse to not go to work, or, for some, another routine workday. I wonder how many people today know that memorial days began in ancient Greece more than 2,500 years ago when graves of local heroes were decorated with flowers. Some native cultures had similar days of remembrance long before that. Then, during the American Civil War, memorial days were celebrated in towns on both sides of the conflict. While the last Monday in May was first chosen as Memorial Day in 1868, it wasn't until 1971 that it officially became a national holiday to honor those who have died in our nation's service.

If you missed taking time with your family this Memorial Day to talk about friends and family who died serving our country, you don't have to wait until next year. Instead, do as the ancient Greeks did and choose a day, any day, when you can gather to talk and remember. Both you and the younger members of your family might just find something worth keeping.

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