Memorial Day: A Lesson in Patience

May 26, 2010

Do you ever think about the fact that Memorial Day only became an official federal holiday in 1971?  For whatever reasons, I never pondered that point at all until last year, when researching a column on the history of Memorial Day.

“So what?” you may ask.  “What difference does it make?”

Honestly, to many, it may not make much of any difference.  In fact, if all you think about Memorial Day as being is an extra day off work or the unofficial beginning of summer, then it’s highly unlikely that it would make any difference to you.  If you are that person, your primary consideration is resting or having fun on your day off.

But, fortunately, those of you investing your time reading this article likely have more appreciation than that.  You realize that a holiday set aside to honor those who died to preserve the freedom of our country is, in fact, a very “big deal.”  After all, where would we be if the brave soldiers had not been willing to die at home and abroad?  Living under tyranny, that’s where!

So, where does the lesson in patience come into play?  If you’re not aware, the first remembrance ceremonies around the country strictly for deceased veterans—Veterans Day honors all who served in the military—began in 1868, some for Union and some for Confederate veterans.  The celebration initially was called Decoration Day, since the primary activity was to place flowers or other appropriate decorations on the graves of those dying in battle.

Point: it took over a century for the official observance of Memorial Day to come into being.  So, the next time you get impatient, think about Memorial Day.  It was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait!

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