Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

To the Americans out there.


Blogger United We Lay said...

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8:02 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I don't know if "happy" is really the right word to use since it's supposed to be a day of reflection on those who fought and died for their country. People hold sales and BBQ's. How does that honor the dead?

8:03 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

In a nutshell, what is Memorial Day?

10:42 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Memorial day is the day in which we honor those who have died in the wars fought by the US

2:51 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

UWL, I see your point. That said, I do consider it a holiday of joyous tribute more than a regretful dwelling on death.

Daniel, Veterans Affairs has some good info on the holiday.

My family always turned the day into a celebration and a remembrance of all our deceased family--complete with a picnic at the cemetary. I guess people mourn in different ways. While I can see the point that this holiday isn't meant for family, it's meant for soldiers, I'm hard-pressed to see any harm in taking the time to remember all the contributions of the deceased that will be missed.

Above all, it should be a patriotic holiday, I agree. I don't make any apologies, though, for my own version of casual patriotism (analagous, I suppose, to my take on religion in many ways). I celebrated May 29 by driving past our city hall and oohing and ahing at the flags with our daughter. Then I went home, skimmed through the voters guide for our June 6 election, watched Kelly's Heroes and read a few chapters of Killer Angels (more coincidentally than any bizarre attempt to conflate true veterans with Donald Sutherland and Clint Eastwood). If the sealant on our cement patio had finished drying, we probably would've had a barbecue, too.

You look at a jazz funeral in New Orleans, and people might question their means of honoring the dead, too. My humble argument is this: What better way to celebrate the freedom of our country and the sacrifices of our servicemen and women--those who may have been our grandfathers or our metaphorical sisters and brothers--than to spend the day together as a family?

Notsocranky, you're best qualified to weigh in on this topic if you happen to be reading. Any thoughts?

7:40 PM  
Blogger James said...

The few vets I know seem to see Memorial Day as a family/celebration day. My neighbor, just back from Iraq, set up a giant water slide in his yard for all his nephews and neices who were over for a cookout. I think veterans day is the more solemn version, at least for many of the people I know. Of course most businesses are open that day forcing many vets to have to use a personal day.

I like your analogy to the New Orleans funerals, which are often referred to as homecomings.

6:22 AM  
Blogger mal said...

something appropo about watching Kellys Heros on Memorial Day. I do love Sutherlands character in the movie

2:01 PM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Thank you!

12:04 PM  

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