Why We Don’t Celebrate Memorial Day

When most Americans celebrate Memorial Day, they take advantage of the beginning of summer, a three-day weekend, barbequing with friends and family, and marathon shopping at mall-wide sales. But we at Packages From Home refuse to celebrate Memorial Day. Why? While we all appreciate a good clearance and spending time relaxing by the pool, celebrating those things by attaching them to Memorial Day dilutes the true meaning of this important national day of remembrance.
The true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor and remember the American men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, was first observed in 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It later evolved from honoring only Civil War soldiers to recognizing and remembering fallen heroes from all American wars.
In honor of this important day, you may notice Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers exchanging red poppies for donations to military and veteran service organizations. This tradition began after World War I, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field” which describes the wild red poppies growing on a Belgian battlefield. Wearing a red poppy soon became a tradition to reflect on the sacrifices of war and remember those who gave their lives for our country. Another tradition is to fly American flags at half-staff in memory of fallen heroes, having surviving family raise them at noon as symbol of carrying on. In recent years, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts adopted the custom of placing American flags at military grave sites.
In the not too distant past, Americans remembered and honored their fallen heroes with large community remembrances and parades, but today, many our country’s citizens seem to focus more on taking a much-needed day off to spend time with loved ones.
The sacrifice of those who died in service for our country should not be celebrated, but instead, remembered and appreciated. We, as American citizens, are only afforded our freedoms because hundreds of thousands of incredible troops gave and continue to give their lives for the great country we live in.
So, this year, while you’re spending time with loved ones and enjoying great deals at your favorite stores, please take a moment to remember and thank those who made it possible for you to do those things. Reflect upon what it means to be an American, offer gratitude to those who died in service, and explain the true meaning of Memorial Day to our children because remembering our fallen heroes is a tradition worth upholding.