Decoration Day, as my Grandpa called it, was started afted the war of Southern secession; the second of two of our legitimate wars.
In the late 60’s it was changed to the last Monday in May to create a three day wekend and called Memorial Day. A three day weekend, eh?
We hear a lot of complaints about it being more about the vacation, hot dogs, beer and boats than fallen heros. But to me if it wasn’t about vacation, why make it a threee day weekend? I don’t suppose those who were sent to their deaths would prefer we sat staring blankly ahead without a hot dog. Or even one hot doggie! (Magic Christian reference in case you don’t know Ringo and Peter Sellers’ masterpiece.) I doubt they fought and died to preserve an East German or North Korean lifestyle.
I follow Dawn around as she sings at five Memorial Day services. I like the speech from Pastor Tharp, the kids running to gather the Legion’s shell casings and the spring weather, even if it isn’t often as beautiful as today.
But the real deal is seeing old classmates of Dawn’s (mine are all dead or lost in California), family, other farmers too busy to socialize much, neighbors and old timers who have way too little influence on the direction of future generations.
Having a cookout or gathering with people we love honors those soldiers’ lives more than the self-righteous whining of puritanistic pundits.