Where would we be without Memorial Day? How would we know when to start wearing white again? How many workers would go postal without a three-day weekend between Presidents Day and Independence day? How would tourists know when to put on their dorkiest clothes and hop in the camper? Without Memorial Day, summer could sneak up and goose you out of your pale, flabby wintertime hibernation. So, I guess its important to make a big deal about it.
Whether or not you go to one of those somber ceremonies in the cemetery, remember that people die so you can continue to enjoy this holiday. Think about it. If we hadn’t lost a single soldier in battle since WWII, what would Memorial Day look like today? When was the last time you visited your Great-Grandfather’s grave? I mean no disrespect to the dead, but after 70 years, most of us have kind of moved on.
The President would probably say something, some geezers would get together, but the rest of us would have nothing to remember. We’d just know that it was a day to think about all the guys who died on “the Sands of Iwo Jima” to defeat Hitler. We’d know it was also for soldiers who died in all of those previous wars, but then we’re not really talking about “Memorial Day” so much as “American History Day”.
To do Memorial Day right, you need people who remember. You need mothers who remember sons, widows who remember husbands, children who remember fathers and mothers, and people who made it back alive who remember those who didn’t. So, even if you still don’t understand how we ended up in Viet Nam and can’t think of a good reason to continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, ultimately, its all about Memorial Day, keeping it alive, and keeping it fresh.
Other holidays pay their own way. Nobody forgets Christmas. Retailers can take that to the bank. Fireworks manufacturers, pumpkin growers and turkey farmers have all found ways to capitalize on holidays people like to remember. Memorial Day on the other hand requires enormous government subsidies…more than the Farm Bill, more than the bank bailout, more than Social Security and Medicare combined.
Does that seem like a lot to spend on just one holiday? With everyone clamoring to reduce the National Debt, can we really afford it? We clearly need a three-day weekend at the end of May, to keep everyone from going apeshit with Spring fever. I’ve always felt that working people paid way too much for that one lousy day off, but with our nation falling deeper in debt every day, it grows ever more clear that we cannot afford the thinnest social safety net, and Memorial Day.
How much of a burden would your aging parents be without Social Security and Medicare? How much worse would it be to have a kid with Down’s Syndrome without SSI? These programs save lives, and make life bearable for so many more. Outside of the three-day weekend, Memorial Day doesn’t do anything good for anyone. The people who have the most to remember on Memorial Day, really wish they didn’t. They’d just as soon have a barbeque with the people they remember. So if you want to balance the budget, cut Memorial Day. Its a no-brainer, really.
When people start to forget about Memorial Day, we can rename it Barbeque Day. People will remember that. Retailers of grills, patio furniture and the Cattleman’s Beef Association will happily remind them. Problem solved.
There’s a view of Memorial Day that’s On The Money.