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