|The Character of a Community|
If you've ever dabbled in culinary arts, you know that one of the key rules when introducing new flavors to recipes is retaining some of the original flavor. You can add all sorts of ingredients to the meatloaf...until it doesn't taste like "meatloaf" anymore. Once that occurs, you will start to offend tastebuds. Similarly, for many Memorial Day can be celebrated, observed, and honored in a host of ways. But, this year the Internet has drawn attention to the fact that we have lost much of the original flavor of Memorial Day.
When I was a young girl, Memorial Day meant getting up early and attending the Memorial Day parade, visiting the grave site of fallen loved ones, followed by food and family. By the time I was a teenager, Memorial Day also included furniture sales and decorations. At some point, over the last twenty years, Memorial Day has become nothing more for some than a "Happy Memorial Day" status, hashtag, or salutation before heading out for barbecue and summertime fun. Before you head out to the lake, picnic or fire up the grill, here are a few ways to keep some of the original flavor of Memorial Day in tact. For businesses, before you send out the next "Happy Memorial Day Come Buy Some Stuff" E-mail, just think that you could be alienating part of your customer base.
1. Show reverence to fallen soldiers.
It doesn't need to be an elaborate public speech or graveyard tear jerker, but some sort of acknowledgement to someone who may be hurting or expression of appreciation may be a start...or maybe even a prayer. The Washington Post published an article today about a veteran who has attended over 75 funerals of friends and comrades since 2001 and how horrible it feels to hear no mention of fallen soldiers in all of the Happy-Memorial-Day-Let-The-Summer-Begin campaigns going.
2. Know and Share Memorial Day History.
Nothing gets someone fired up to share or teach about a subject moreso than knowing about it. A starter would be knowing the difference between Memorial Day (for the fallen) and Veteran's Day (for the survivors). Here are a couple good articles that highlight some of the rich history of Memorial Day.
- Memorial Day Origins - Theories, Claims, and Facts.
- Memorial Day Meaning - Why Does it Exist?
- Memorial Day - Is it okay to say Happy Memorial Day?
3. Go to a Memorial-Day-Focused Event
It'll only take an hour. Seriously. Most communities have a Memorial Day Parade, demonstration or exhibit. Our community has a list of local activities. If you have visiting guests or children, this is a very subtle way to sprinkle a little of the true flavor of Memorial Day into your daily activities. Don't worry: the corn on the cob will await thee.