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Why Memorial Day May Carry A Deeper Meaning Than July 4th

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First off, we hope everyone had a fantastically safe Memorial Day weekend with friends and family. Hopefully you relaxed over some BBQ-ed New York steaks and some beers (American-only of course), while remembering our fallen heroes. During the weekend something came to mind. It seems as though people celebrate Memorial Day more closely than Independence Day. The holidays are only a month and a half apart, but Memorial Day just seems to bring out the most casual parties and hangouts for whatever reason. Actually, I think I know why.

Memorial Day is positioned perfectly on the calendar. It’s the end of the school year for most kids and represents the (un)official beginning of summer. It’s also the first real holiday we’ve had in months. Yes, Easter is a holiday but it’s also a Sunday. I’m talking three-day weekend type holidays. Those are a rare breed.

There’s something else about Memorial Day that sets it apart, it’s the day we honor those that have perished for our benefit. See, whether or not you’re vehemently anti-war, there’s an unwritten rule that you should appreciate the sacrifices made by the soldiers. You can foment their superiors all you want, but you don’t belittle the young men and women who are doing the actual fighting. This lies in stark contrast to Independence Day.

The American Fourth of July celebration has become marred by incessant murmurings about stolen land, dead Native Americans, slavery and Jim Crow. Sure it’s still a big holiday, but it lacks the galvanizing effect of Memorial Day.

Another aspect to Memorial Day is that it’s just plain sad. It’s by far the saddest of the American holidays without really a close second. The occasion was invented following the Civil War, which was the bloodiest of all American wars. Over half a million soldiers died, many without even being shot. They contracted various diseases, froze to death in winter, and had to saw off limbs that were no longer functioning.

War is hell and Americans understand it. That’s why Memorial Day weekend saw so many private celebrations and remembrances across the land. As we transition into summer, let’s remain grateful for all we’ve been afforded, whether you agree or disagree with how we got here. The past is done, let’s embrace the present and start building our future happiness.




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