26 May 2014

Memorial Day Weekend: What It’s All About

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Americans can be proud. Only about 400 years have passed since the first successful English colony was established in Jamestown, Virginia, and look at us now. Four centuries is a relatively short time, historically speaking, especially in comparison with the millennia of history in Asia, Arabia, Africa and Europe.  And yet it’s the US which has held the place of the #1 country in the world ever since WW II. We owe this position in large part due to the sacrifices of our men and women in arms. For this reason, we commemorate Memorial Day, a federal holiday in honor of all those who perished during military duty.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decorated Day, in memory of the soldiers who died during the Civil War. As time would tell, the Civil War gave way to several other international wars, leading to the need for a comprehensive commemoration for all US military victims.

As with most holidays, especially with those like Memorial Day that enjoy a weekday of vacation, Memorial Day has been largely piggy-backed upon as a fun day. Since Memorial Day is held on a Monday, its triad of three days – including the preceding Saturday and Sunday – evolved into being called “Memorial Day Weekend”.  Capitalizing on the expanded leisure time, stores often advertise their Memorial Day sales (with requisite American flag image), and the end-of-May weather lends itself to many a festival, picnic, road trip, or even 3-day cruise or other short vacation planning.

All of this is positive in terms of enjoyment. At the same time, many Americans find we need to make an effort to remind ourselves about what Memorial Day’s really about.

At Rockaway Care Center, many a resident served in the US Armed Services, and likely knows army mates who died while serving. WW II, Vietnam, the Korean War, or the more recent Gulf War or the various insurgency defense wars under the War on Terror umbrella – all incurred heavy losses of US troops. And those are just the well-known wars – there are countless other smaller-scale wars where US soldiers took, or continue to take part, such as the Libyan Civil War and the LRA Insurgency. In fact,  it’s surprising to read about the number of wars in which the US was involved since its inception – we don’t learn about them in history class, nor oftentimes nowadays in the news, while they’re happening.  Yet all of these war victims are honored on Memorial Day, so we should keep them in mind.

At Rockaway Care Center, chances are you associate with others who lost a loved one or good friend while on duty, and Memorial Day is the perfect opportunity to broach the topic. Reach out and discuss, and in this way, deepen your connections with those you live with at Rockaway Care Center. In honor and appreciation of all US defense personnel who lost their lives in our defense, we salute you.


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