Today, May 28, 2012, is Memorial Day in the United States of America. This day is a federal holiday and it serves as a day of remembrance for the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is an important day (in my opinion) and should be observed with reflection and thought. Many people think that our freedom is free. In reality, it is paid for through blood, sweat, tears and lives.
As I surf through my Facebook News Feed, I see many people making posts about Memorial Day and following up their sentiments with comments such as, “Now in true American fashion, I shall celebrate with a BBQ.” When did this happen? When did going to the beach, serving up hamburgers and having pool parties become our way of remembering our veterans who lost their lives while serving our country?
If I based my knowledge of Memorial Day solely by what I see on Facebook, I would think that the holiday has something to do with the military kicking off the summer season. There are definitely mentions of people who lost their lives while defending our freedom but the majority of what I see is related to partying. I see a LOT of children in bathing suits jumping into swimming pools. Do these children know that today is Memorial Day or what today means?
When I was the age of these children, my parents took me to the main street of our town. We lined up beach chairs and waited for a fun and special Memorial Day parade to start. We all had American flags in our hands and we cheered as the parade started. It was a wonderful way to honor and memorialize our troops and veterans. We moved out of this town when I was about five and a half years old but I have memories of watching men and women in uniform march in the parade. We went to the parade with many of our neighbors and started the weekend with a bit of a history lesson. The BBQs and block parties were secondary.
Is this the way that we are still raising our children or are we teaching our kids that Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff of summer? Will the next generation have a deep appreciation for the value of Memorial Day or will they be busy planning getaways to the beach? Is it possible that social media is skewing how people feel about the holiday?