Date Swap!

Graduation celebrations, town festivals and picnics filled this Memorial Day weekend. The unofficial kick-off to summer rocked and yet I noticed an underlying somber mood. Americans were reminded of the service men and woman who gave up their lives for our country. I agree that we need to reflect and pay tribute, but Memorial Day and Labor Day are on the wrong weekends. They should be switched!

Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado

When I was a wee child back in Wisconsin, I used to get them mixed up. Okay. I admit it. I have gotten them mixed up as a full-fledged adult. It has never made sense to me that Memorial Day is in May. While students across the land celebrated the last day of school and began their summer break, others mourned loved ones lost while defending our country. Labor Day on the other hand, is a day off from the daily grind and yet it is in September when students and teachers go back to work. Wouldn’t it make sense for Labor Day to be in May and have a three-day weekend purely devoted to pre-summer fun?

According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day began after the Civil War to honor the Union soldiers. After Lincoln’s death in April 1865, several types of services were observed. “Decoration Day” was celebrated on May 30th. The name was officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967.

Labor Day was rushed through Congress in 1894 to avoid a Central Labor Union strike. The CLU proposed the holiday after discovering the annual Labor Festival celebrated in Toronto, Canada. Go Canada!

It wasn’t until 1971, that Congress moved four holidays, including Memorial and Labor Day, to Mondays making them convenient three-day weekends.

Summer is a season of long warm days, nature’s abundance, and travel. The outdoors beckons us. It is teaming with new life. Wouldn’t September be a better time to honor the service men and women who died to protect us?

Memorial Day observed

Back-to-school is already a somber time; for students anyway. I know parents kick up their heels in relief. It signals the end of the summer season. We also mourn all the individuals who died on September 11th. If we celebrated Memorial Day in the beginning of September instead of Labor Day, it would reflect the more serious tone of that time of year.

Like the leaves that begin to fall, it would remind us of the fallen soldiers and the ultimate sacrifice they made for us.

Don’t you think it is time for a 40 year review of these two holidays? I think they should be swapped!

What do you think?

If you live in another country do you celebrate a holiday that should be on a different date?

1st photo by Wikipedia, 2nd by Susie Lindau

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Filed under Humor, Life

98 responses to “Date Swap!

  1. Pingback: Susie Lindau’s Date Swap « Three Leaves

  2. I agree with you … cable networks at least try to remind us of that holiday with marathons of Band of Brothers, The Pacific and stuff like Saving Private Ryan. But still we head off to the beach and BBQ. A switch would be great :) Although we’d probably still need those marathons on cable.

    • So true! I wonder if they will change it to it’s own day like Veteran’s Day. There is/was a bill in Congress for that… We’ll see! Stranger things have happened! Thanks for catching up with my posts Guat!

  3. You make a very good argument for switching Memorial Day and Labor Day; I am all for it as long as Memorial Day does not get ‘lost in the shuffle’. I am not American born and have no relatives who fought for America ( my great-grandpapa on Papa’s side fought with the French Resistance and Mama’s grandpapa fought the Nazis) but I have friends who did and it is important, no matter where we live or were born, or whether or not we agreed with our involvement in a conflict, to always honor those who served and sacrificed that we might be free. Freedom isn’t free and it can disappear in a heartbeat if we let it.

    Sorry… (stepping down from my soapbox)…

    I do wonder one thing about moving Labor Day, though. What happens to that saying about never wearing white after Labor Day? :D

    • You are the second person to think of that! So true~ I totally agree with you about the seriousness of the day. I just think it is getting lost with all the mattress sales and picnics… Maybe it should have its own day…Maybe you can write about your grandparents some time! Thanks for weighing in!

  4. Hi,
    Here in Oz Labour Day is celebrated at different months depending on which State you live in (I know it doesn’t make any sense to me either :) ) the State where I live we had a long weekend for Labour Day last month, some of the other States have their Labour Day in March, and others in October.

  5. Pingback: Kreativ Blogger Awar « The Musings of a New Englander

  6. I would like to suggest a holiday swap, if I may. Whats about Thanksgiving switching places with Christmas? It would stand to reason that all those bills coming due might go down a bit easier if a cash outlay on grub was the only requisite to the 25th. And I’m pretty sure Jesus would understand.

  7. Hello Susie – I guess Memorial Day is your equivalent of our Rememberance Day, which commemorates the end of World War One. We revere the fallen in all conflicts on the Sunday closest to the Armistice Day, November 11, but I feel we should have a public holiday on November 11th, whatever day it falls on, as they do in France. People need to be forced to remember as these conflicts lose their resonance as the years roll on.

  8. That makes sense. There is an ambivalent feeling on Memorial Day. On one side, we have people offering a day of prayer, sadness and remembrance for the men and women who sacrificed their lives till this very day and on the other side, those having a blast shopping for memorial day sale , fun with barbecue and gatherings with family and friend, then there’s the group that does both. Thanks for sharing. Very enlightening post.

  9. If these days were to be swapped, would it not result in adding more melancholy to the September grind than their already is? Though I will admit that it doesn’t affect me as I don’t celebrate either, but just wondering all the same.

  10. Great point! I think Memorial Day is overshadowed by so many things – including graduation. It has turned into graduation weekend filled with grad parties. I don’t feel like there is a moment to truly reflect on the reason for the day.

    • I agree. You said it so well Jean. I wish they would move to a time when everyone could focus on the sacrifice made by these fantastic individuals.
      Thanks for weighing in!

  11. It’s an interesting idea, I’ll give you that. But if Labor Day was moved to the end of May, would it still be acceptable to wear white in summer? Just saying . . .

  12. Ohmygosh, you are SO right! they totally need to be swapped. Let’s start a petition.

  13. I cannot argue with that logic one bit. You are a smart cookie. Has anyone ever told you that? :) To be honest, I am so caught up in just trying to stay caught up that I usually don’t know what holiday it is until it’s upon me. Yep, I’m that bad.

    • Debra you are the coolest and you made my day!
      I don’t think I could do any writing or blogging if my kids were still at home. I don’t know how you do it!
      Thanks for coming by!

  14. As long as we don’t forget. I think it’s a testimony to all who serve(d) that so many of us posted a day of remembrance. Great photos. And thanks for stopping by my blog. :-) Now on to Happy Summer!

  15. I remember when it was called Decoration Day. It’s the thoughts that counts, and the remembrance of those gone, by those that miss them. ,

    • I agree!
      I remember seeing it on calendars in grade school. (in my past life of course) :) Some believe that putting it on (the kick off to summer) three day weekend has diminished the meaning and there is a bill in Congress to change it back for that reason.

      Can you imagine the uproar if they tried to take away the three day weekend altogether?

      • True… it’s more about beer and boating, car races, things like that… but those that remember, call attention for those that don’t, and maybe for a moment it can make a difference… maybe they will buy a poppy and think about what the real purpose of their three-day-holiday means… for a moment.

  16. I feel like the lone downer here, but maybe the whole purpose was intentional to jolt us out of our excitement to allow us to reflect better on what we are about to enjoy?
    But then again, it was congress who picked the day, so there probably was no rhyme or reason after all. ;P

    • It started when Lincoln died in April. The first memorials were seen on gravestones around the beginning of May and it slowly gained momentum in several states. It wasn’t an official holiday until 1967. It was moved from the 30th to a three day weekend in ’71.

      I just read where many believe Memorial Day is losing its meaning because of the three day weekend and they are considering moving it back to the 30th. I wonder if they will keep the three day weekend and call it something else?

      Thanks for weighing in Blankenmom!

  17. That, my friend, is a BRILLIANT idea! Are you running for President anytime soon? :-)

  18. In Canada, we honor our fallen on Rememberance Day which always falls on November 11. seems a good time of year to remember the fallen.

    • Our Veterans Day is the same day! You Canadians Rock! I love that you celebrate your Thanksgiving in October. That is a much better time than late November…
      Thanks Louise!

  19. I’m 57, and always remember it as Memorial Day… interesting on the name.

    I recall the parades, including troops from WWI. I don’t recall any from the Spanish American war, but they were around then.

    • I vaguely remember the new holidays being moved to three day weekends, but I think you have a vivid imaginations when recalling those wars! You crack me up Nelle!

  20. I thought I was the only loser who confused the two holidays. Thank God, I’m not the only borderline idiot in America. Whew—–

    • I have heard that others get it confused too. I guess It always seemed logical that Labor Day, being a day off from work, would be the official start to summer! We are just deep thinkers Kathryn!

  21. I guess that I am the dissenters voice. I think that memorial day should be where it is. As we celebrate the end of another school year, the beginning of Summer and all its wonders we should remember those who have made it possible. While we may morn their passing we should celebrate their lives and the lives they have given us.

    I think that Memorial Day can can be the beginning of a long celebration that ends in the fireworks of the 4th of July. I’d rather party for a month than a day.

    • Party on girl! Why stop at the 4th of July? :) Kidding!
      I am glad that we have two holidays where we pay our respects to those who sacrifice for us. I am very thankful for all service men and women and the sacrifice they make for us.
      Thanks for reading!

  22. Coleen Patrick

    Good point–it would definitely fit better mood wise!

  23. That’s a good idea, Susie, and I never thought of it that way. I always figured Cinco de Mayo might be a good summer kickoff, since it seems to be less about the independence of Mexico and more about drinking beer and margaritas anyway. :P

    • So funny! It used to be bigger in our area, but I think a lot of Mexicans left the area during the recession.
      Our first week of May can be snowy! Not this year. It has been summerlike for a while. :)
      Thanks Heather!

  24. Very deceptive title, Susie!
    I was expecting something of a naughty nature..
    But great post, nonetheless!

  25. Great idea Susie. We’ll have to get the Lamb/Bayard campaign onto it :)

  26. You’re right and the symbolism woundn’t be lost on children. Another thing, I think we should have fireworks on Memorial Day. One roll of thunder for all those who a marching on a greater parade ground.

  27. Yes! agree 100%. Is that your front door? If so, it’s beautiful!!

  28. Great points, Susie! Hmmm… Maybe we should call it Lamorial Day and celebrate the whole shebang twice! ;)

  29. In Canada we have November 11th which is called Armistice Day/ Remembrance Day where all that fought in the wars are remembered. There is no other day. I get confused between the two US ones.

    • November 11th is Veterans Day in the US too! It sounds like they are combined in Canada. Memorial Day is for all those who died in service to our country.
      Go Canada!

  30. You’re so right! I never thought of this before, but September would be such a better time of year for Memorial Day. Who do we talk to about this??

  31. Miami is now 51% foreign born and they could not give a hoot about the history of these commemorative occasions. First and second generations have more allegiance to their own cultures as well. You would think that Veterans Day would be a common denominator for all. Not so in Miami. Your discussion would never take place here as they would not know what you are talking about. It is obvious that you live in part of America. I don’t.

    • Yep! I am in the heart of the Country – Colorado! I guess there is a chance that at least 40% would know what I was talking about in Miami…coffee cup half full…. :)
      Thanks Carl!

  32. I think you’re right, and like you, I always get the two days confused. As a kid Labor Day ALWAYS depressed me for I dreaded returning to school. This entire post resonates on many levels.

    • Oh! Thank you! Another kindred spirit! I have always thought that it was weird that Labor Day which is all about getting a day off from work was at the time of year when most go back to work.
      If Congress changed the days in 1971, they can swap ‘em in 2013!

  33. Date swapping, wife swapping; hey it’s all the same deal to me, and I’m enthusiastically in favor of it!

    Wait a minute… I think I just replied to the wrong blog post, so just forget everything about what I just said. Uhmm… yeah, I guess that I’d be cool with switching those holidays around. Cause I’m just easy to get along with like that, and you should thank me! Lol :-)

  34. Dang! From the title, I thought this had something to do with wild sex on double dates. Oh, well. . .

    Actually, you make a lot of sense. Let’s do it. Maybe when Piper gets in the White House she can get the dates changed.

    • There you go! We will slip it through Congress with their help!
      Sorry about the misleading title. I think it got a lot of reader’s attention and yet once you read it, you can see that it is exactly what I am talking about. Date Swap!

  35. I’m all for a date swap, your argument makes perfect sense to me!

  36. I never knew the Labour festival in Toronto went back so far. See, you learn something new everyday and i think it goes to show that sometimes you learn more about the city you live in from people not living in your city.

    • I didn’t know the origins of Memorial or Labor Day until I wrote this! Who knew that it was because of Canada and an impending strike???
      I am sure there is still a lot to learn about Colorado.
      Thanks so much Janet!

  37. You are smart beyond smart. I never thought of that, but I love it. However, the less sunny days and all the sad, seasonal affect disorders, would have a celebratory day marking the beginning of the winter, ha! You’ll need an act of congress changing that. Out with the old and in with the new :)))!!!

  38. Not sure if it’s deliberate or unintentional, but some times your choice of words for title do spark off interest! :)
    We do celebrate Veteran’s day in fall to honor serviceman, I won’t have problem swapping the dates, agree with you there.
    Two other dates also fall in the same month that I feel should be far apart Election Day early Nov & followed by Thanksgiving Day Late Nov. I think it sends wrong signal to the rest of the word about our gratitude :)

  39. I get them (even present tense) mixed up all the time. The only way I remember is the “Indianapolis 500″ race is on Memorial Sunday. Switching would not only work, but be easier for my little brain!

  40. Switch ‘em, Susie. I’ll vote for it.



  41. Sadly, I think that no matter what day Memorial day was celebrated on, it would be most identified with mattress sales.
    Though May is a nicer time for parades than September…

  42. Hey.. have it in November like we Canadians do (Remembrance Day) and get another day off.. to go to parades, services and school assemblies. It’s much more meaningful!

  43. I am grateful that, thanks to you, I now know what Memorial day is. Sorry but down here in Aussie, we don’t know about it.

  44. That’s a good observation. It seems logical the holidays should fall in that order.

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