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

98 thoughts on “Date Swap!

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  1. 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.

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    1. 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!

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  2. 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

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    1. 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!

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    1. 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?

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      1. 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.

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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.

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    1. 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!

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  5. 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.

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    1. 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!

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  6. 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.

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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.

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    1. November 11th is Veterans Day here in the US and it falls where it falls. Memorial Day is an extra holiday started after the Civil War and honors those who died while serving. It is a really weird weekend with mattress sales and barbecues, the end of school and grad parties with a smattering of flags in remembrance! Very weird combo…. Thanks Jim!

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  9. 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.

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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? 😀

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    1. 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!

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  12. 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.

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    1. 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!

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