It’s Not Happy Memorial Day…

Originally known as Decoration Day and falling on May 30th – it began as a day to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. Eventually it was expanded to include fallen soldiers of all wars and the name was changed to Memorial Day. The holiday was officially recognized by the government in the 1970’s and for whatever reason it was decided to change the date to the last Monday of May to give people a 3 day weekend and celebrate the beginning of summer. Unfortunately, the true meaning of the holiday was lost over the years. Myself included, I always looked at the holiday as a bonus 3 day weekend and said Happy Memorial Day. I did understand it was a day to honor our military and while I was grateful to our soldiers I did not think much about it. My perception changed because of Aaron – he loved the military, he loved the soldiers, he loved the veterans. He revered and respected the veterans and soldiers that had died to protect our freedoms. He wanted to be one. Through this journey of losing Aaron I have met many families of soldiers that spend Memorial Day honoring their soldier. I’ve learned that saying Happy Memorial Day is hurtful and causes pain to the family members that have lost their loved one. I do understand that people saying Happy Memorial Day do not mean to be disrespectful or cause pain to military families. Unless you experience that type of loss you are unaware of the meaning. It has not helped that because of the changes made to the holiday over the years the real true meaning was lost… However, I am hoping that when we learn better – we do better. When I have learned that certain words or terms that I have used in the past were hurtful I tried my best to make adjustments to change the way I looked at something and in turn changed the way I spoke. This is not a matter of taking something away from me – this is realizing that some things learned from the past are hurtful and what can I do to try and make it a little bit better in the present and moving into the future. I know this was pretty long but after losing Aaron a lot of my perceptions have changed and after meeting many families of lost soldiers I do understand what the original meaning of Decoration Day / Memorial Day stands for, so for me I no longer say Happy Memorial Day but instead spend the day reflecting and honoring our men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice to allow me to live in freedom.

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