Memorial Day. It’s not always what we would hope it to be.
It isn’t that Americans are shallow or forgetful. We aren’t. Though I admit, at times, we do not represent ourselves well. Anyone in the US can tell you that Memorial Day represents the unofficial beginning of summer, just as Labor Day represents the colloquial end of summer.
Does it matter that Memorial Day occurs at the end of May and summer actually begins in the third week of June? Nope.
Or how about that summer ends on September 21st, yet Labor Day happens on the first weekend of September? Nope.
It could be argued that we only think of our precious three-day weekends and barbecues. Fair enough. Or we could look at things from another angle.
Memorial Day is a day in honor of those who have served, those we’ve lost, those gone on. They sacrificed so much, and there will never be words enough to thank them. There simply can’t be, because they gave everything. Everything. But they fought for an ideal, a way of life. They fought so that this safe haven, for all its faults, would still be standing. “That shining city on the hill” would still be here, even if they didn’t live to see it. That means that when some family takes time to go water skiing together, or a block has a neighborhood barbecue together, that spirit of love and shared happiness, the innocence inherent in a warm afternoon’s sunshine, that is what our soldiers went to war to protect. They laid down their lives so that children could roast hotdogs and families could eat jello salad in peace. It’s just that simple and just that complicated. Sometimes life is all in the details.
In September comes our ode to organized labor; Labor Day. It’s time to go back to school, to go back to work. So we have one last hurrah and then we buckle down to work.
It’s not that we are shallow or forgetful; it is that we have figured out the essence to both of these holidays and we live them. Because that is what it is all about: living.
My friend Karen suggested that in honor of the unofficial launch of summer I post my favorite summertime songs. Okay, then.
My all-time favorite summertime song is:
1.) Someone, Somewhere in Summertime by The Simple Minds
And, in no particular order:
2.) First Day of Summer by Tony Carrey
3.) Suddenly Last Summer by The Motels
4.) Summer Nights by Marianne Faithful
5.) That Summer by Garth Brooks
6.) Cruel Summer by Banarama
7.) Summertime, Summertime by Nocera
8.) Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
9.) Last Rose of Summer by Celtic Women
10.) There’s no summer in its title, but I’d be insane to leave it off the list, Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett
For your enjoyment- my favorite summer song. Thank you to my cross country bud, Randall, for introducing it to me at the Stanford Invitational about a million years ago. Scarlett Monks everywhere- hope you all are well.
Happy Summer, all!
This post was written by Erika Gardner. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog. Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.