OPINION: What Not To Do on Memorial Day

Photo Credit: Justin Casey

Memorial Day is an American holiday to celebrate the lives lost in service. It is celebrated on the last Monday of May and has been observed since 1868. Although Memorial Day is for honoring the men and women who died serving in the U.S. military, there are a few norms and guidelines surrounding the holiday that may be unfamiliar to you.

First off, it’s acceptable to honor military members by going to cemeteries and visiting memorials. However, saying something along the lines of “Happy Memorial Day” gives off the impression that you think the holiday is meant to be happy. It’s okay to be grateful for their service, but rephrase your “Happy Memorial Day” into a “Thank you to the strong men and women who have given their lives in service.”

Secondly, don’t thank current military members. Thanking a current military member on any other day of the year is acceptable, but Memorial Day is about celebrating those who have died in service. The focus should be on them. Thanking a veteran can offend them since a lot of them fought alongside people who have passed on the battlefield. Being mindful of what Memorial Day is celebrating and understanding it’s not Veterans Day can help you have a better sense of awareness.

Lastly, don’t forget Memorial Day exists! A lot of people go on vacation for the three-day weekend and forget to acknowledge the importance of the holiday. Don’t just disregard all the lives lost in service. You can have a fun time while being respectful. Remember that they died protecting you and our country. Do something to honor them by going to a cemetery or memorial to give them the respect they deserve.

“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” — Unknown