Opinion: Memorial Day

by Trisha Jani

While I was flipping through the newspaper this morning, it was hard to miss the words “Memorial Day Sale” written on practically every page: Macy’s Memorial Day Sale, 50% off on all sofas at Ashley’s Furniture, Airport Home Appliance free deliveries.

But shouldn’t Memorial Day be so much more?

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was first celebrated after the Civil War to commemorate the death of both the Union and Confederate soldiers. In 1868, General John A. Logan observed the holiday on May 30, 1868 as the day to honor the soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery by decorating their graves with flowers.

Following the Civil War, several Northern states began to recognize the holiday, but most Southern states refused to acknowledge it. Eventually, Congress recognized Memorial Day in 1971 with the passing of the National Holiday Act.

Memorial Day is supposed to be a day that we as a nation set aside to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely and safely. It is for the men and women who leave everything behind to defend their country and people they do not even know. They are the epitome of strength, selflessness, and courage.

I myself take the safety, protection, and service of the U.S. military for granted. Like many other Americans, I live with freedom, comfort, and peace without thinking twice.

It is sometimes hard for me to remember those who have died to protect this country because nobody I know personally has been part of the military. I have never gone through the experience of having family or friends I love go off to war, let alone have them never return. Like much of our nation, I have lost touch with the true meaning of this holiday.

With another tough school year coming to a close, I am absolutely stoked to celebrate the start of summer with this three day weekend. But as I celebrate, I think it is necessary to remember how lucky I am so live such a safe life.

Lack of security is something that does not even cross my mind on a day to day basis, and for that, I give out a heartfelt thank you to those who have given up their lives to keep our nation protected.