Letters to the Editor

Memorial Day not about being happy

Enough already. Clearly, we live in a commercial and hedonist American society. The paradox found in Memorial Day exemplifies that to the maximum.

The last Monday of May became what it is in 1868 by a country awash in the ubiquity of grief when President Garfield originally designated Decoration Day shortly after some 600,000 Americans died in our great and terrible Civil War.

Memorial Day is a somber and solemn time to remember those who gave their lives in military service to give us what we have today in a free America (despite it becoming scarily less so). It is not Veterans Day (what has become another excuse for a day off and a party) when the service of all military servants is recognized.

Frankly, I am put off by passersby in ignorance, or more so by businesses with intent design, offering a salutation of “Happy” Memorial Day. The former need to go back and read some basic history, while the latter should reel in their shameful, greedy commercialism.

Yes, we all need to move on with the reality of death including that in military conflict, but Memorial Day is more than an excuse for beer and barbecue.

Brian B. Burger, U.S. Army Retired, Coburn