In 1868 a day was set aside to pay tribute to those Union soldiers who had fallen in battle during the Civil War. It was called Decoration Day. After WWI it expanded to a day to recognize all those who had died in the service of the United States. After WWII the name of the day was changed to Memorial Day. Somewhere between then and now, Memorial Day has become more of a time for department store sales and BBQ’s than for remembering those who have fallen at Antietam or Iwo Jima. For many it has become little more than a three-day weekend to mark the unofficial start of summer.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending the day off of work BBQ-ing, or going to the beach, or buying that new shirt you don’t need. Absolutely not. But before you take a bite of that hot dog, remember the Continental soldier at Valley Forge that had nothing to eat but soup made from rocks. Before you put on that sunscreen, remember the soldier shivering in his foxhole dug into the snow of Bastogne. Without men like these, three-day weekends may not even exists.