Memorial Day is More Than Just A Party Scene
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Politics and Activism

Memorial Day is More Than Just A Party Scene

Forget about the beach and take a moment to remember the importance of this day.

Memorial Day is More Than Just A Party Scene

It's understandable that everybody enjoys going to the beach and essentially partying when they're given the opportunity, but on Memorial Day, everybody needs to take a moment to reflect upon the real reason for their day off. Contrary to popular belief, Memorial Day is not about barbecuing on the beach and drinking all day. Sure, that's what many people end up doing, but that's not the purpose of the day. It's called "Memorial Day" for a reason. That reason is to remember all of the men and women who have served our country and died in the line of duty. Most towns and cities have Memorial Day parades which a lot of people attend, but once again these are typically treated as just another parade. As soon as the parade is over, the festivities begin. It's one thing for people to party during Memorial Day weekend, and I'm not saying people are expected to sit home and do nothing on Memorial Day itself, but rather people should take a moment out of their day to really think about the meaning of the day.

Men and women risk their lives every day to protect our country and keep each and every one of us safe. Some of these individuals make it back to their families, but others unfortunately aren't as lucky. This is the greatest sacrifice of all. These individuals are our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents or our children. While many are celebrating the day off that Memorial Day brings, many are also spending the day at the graveside of the loved one lost while protecting our country. These people are in mourning, even though they may not show it. To them, this day gives some validation that their loved ones really did sacrifice their lives for a worthy cause. But, at the same time, it must cause true hurt to see the majority of people using this day as a ticket to party.

I became a Girl Scout when I was in Kindergarten, and remained a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school. From second grade to twelfth grade, my Girl Scout troop and I participated in the Flag Placement at Calverton National Cemetery in New York. Each year, we would get up quite early on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, put on our Girl Scout vests and drive the 40 minutes to the cemetery. Upon arrival, we were assigned a section of the cemetery and would place flags at each and every grave. This was not a quick task, but that didn't matter. We knew the importance of this day and the importance of acknowledging and honoring these lives lost by placing a flag at each grave. As we stopped to make the hole for the flag, we would read the names and ages of each person. Some had lived long lives while others had their lives cut short. Regardless, these people sacrificed their lives to save ours. The following weekend, we would go back up to the cemetery and remove each flag. I am grateful for having participated in this flag placement because in a way, it allowed me to thank each person for serving our country by honoring their lives with a flag.

While I took the time to truly acknowledge the real meaning of Memorial Day, many others had different agendas. One of the most prominent issues with how most people treat this day is the drinking. While it is the unofficial start to the summer season, we need to be mindful of the devastation caused by drinking and driving. DUI and DWI rates are elevated over Memorial Day weekend due to the partying that occurs. Not everybody drinks and drives, but those who do are risking their lives and the lives of others. Memorial Day serves to remember those who lost their lives serving our country, not to end more lives because of irresponsibleness.

I'm not asking you to cancel your plans on Memorial Day because I don't plan on canceling my own. I just ask that you remain responsible and considerate, and take a moment out of your day to remember what it's all about.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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