Monday, May 28, 2018

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

Leamsii via Pixabay
Happy Memorial Day! While this day holds special significance to military families in particular, for many of us, it's the third day of a three-day weekend, a day off.

How do you spend your days off?

Personally, I've never outgrown the "sleep in" mentality. Though I berate myself about things like responsibility, being a grown-up and losing a chunk of the day, I've yet to come up with an argument more impressive than the luxury of rolling over and going back to sleep.

Three day weekends can also be an excuse to get away -- to a beach, the mountains or another choice destination. The extra day builds in travel time, stretching the possibilities.

Others shop. Every holiday seems to bring its own set of sales, promising can't-miss-this deals on everything from clothes and shoes to cars and electronics.

As impractical as the beginnings of my days off are, I often aim to make up for that by tackling household projects on days off, or catching up on my to-do list.

For most of us, days off are times to spend with family. Perhaps we engage in one of the above activities, or maybe we just "hang out," enjoying a day where we have nothing in particular to do and nowhere in particular to be.

Or maybe we have a cookout; this year, Memorial Day coincides with International Hamburger Day. The Porch Swing Chronicles was born at a family Memorial Day cookout twelve years ago, so I have a special fondness for Memorial Day cookouts.

But whatever we do, it's important to remember that today is Memorial Day. Until I did a little sleuthing for this post, I didn't realize that Memorial Day was established as Decoration Day. Proposed after the Civil War to honor fallen Union soldiers, it wasn't a national holiday at first, and it only became known as Memorial Day a few decades ago, in 1971. Though widely recognized as a day to remember fallen soldiers, for some, it has also become a broader day of remembrance.

So, whatever you do today, take a moment. Raise a flag, raise a glass, share a moment of silence. We have this day off to spend however we'd like because of someone else. Someone's husband, son, brother, sister, father or mother. Say a prayer for those who haven't returned, for those who've returned irreversibly changed and for the families whose cookout will have empty chairs. Don't spend the day in mourning -- that's not what those soldiers fought for -- but don't forget them (or their families) either.

Celebrate. And remember.

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