Doing Memorial Day Right for the First Time
By Rawls McNelis + Mitchell on May 23, 2015
Memorial Day. It is a sacred holiday that is set aside for the purpose of remembering those in the armed services who have fallen in the line of duty. For most of us, however, it is simply a long weekend meant to herald the start of summer. Meriam Webster defines “remember” as “to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of (something or someone from the past): to think of (something or someone from the past) again.” Thus, “remembering” by definition involves the active reappearance of a particular thought or idea in your mind. In this regard, there is a big difference between doing something ‘in memory” of a person and remembering a person. Specifically, you can dedicate a holiday, a building site, or a street name “in memory” of someone having never thought of the particular person once in your life. By contrast, “remembering” someone involves actively recalling a specific aspect of the person’s life of which you are familiar. You cannot remember something you do not know and never knew. If you do not know the story of a service member who died in service of our country, how can you possibly remember that person? Even if you do know the story of a fallen service member, how many times have you actively recalled that memory (often a sad one) on a day set aside by many for a relaxing at the pool with hamburgers and beer? I am ashamed to admit it, but I do not know if I have ever taken the time to remember anyone on Memorial Day other than myself. Thus, the purpose of this blog is to present to all of our readers a short and simple challenge—one that will bring us in line with the actual purpose of Memorial Day--remember someone. If you personally knew someone to remember by virtue of your own service in the military, take a moment to specifically bring that person’s face into your mind and remember him or her. If you do not know anyone who died in service to our country personally, take a minute and research the name and story of someone who did and, for just one minute on Memorial Day, remember that person. By doing this, we ensure that some aspect of the person lives on even though their life was cut short and make Memorial Day what it was always intended to be.