Memorial Day, here in the U.S., was enacted as a day to remember the members of the armed forces that had died.
When I was growing up, the town would have a big parade that ended up in the historic cemetery. There were speeches, and a student would read the Gettysburg Address. It would end with a trumpeter playing “Taps.” A solemn occasion.
Stores would be closed, even gas stations.
So when did it become just a free day off?
Personally, it’s when I went to college. You’re free, on your own, far from what you grew up with, away from the structure of a civil group.
Then I was working retail, and the store was open, short hours but open.
Then I had little kids and lived far from the center of town, passing through the outskirts of the establishment.
And now? Grown kids, walking distance of the town center? No real excuse. However, there is only a speech and service at the memorial in town. That is all.
It just seems to me that a lot of the holidays we recognize seem to be losing their meanings in the wake of consumerism and a self-centered society, one seemingly more focused on the individual than the group.
That said, I’m just as guilty as others. I do consider what a holiday means, but when it comes to doing something to mark it, it’s seems to be too much effort. It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t have that personal connection.
I don’t think I am the only one, but that is really no excuse. As I work on my family’s genealogy, though, I find many ancestors that served and/or died in the service of their country. That fact is reinforcing the idea of a day of remembrance for me.
Well, enough of my confessions for today!
Here it was cloudy and misty all day, so no photographs. But I do have shots from last year at my brother-in-law’s house, so here you are!