Friday, May 22, 2009

The wrong expression?

This morning I received an email that ended with, "Have a wonderful week-end."

Is this the proper expression for Memorial Day week-end? What is this week-end all about? A work holiday on Monday? Hot dogs and burgers on the grill? Picnics? Setting up the pool?

Just what is Memorial Day? Just another holiday lost to the ages because no one is telling us, or reminding us, what this holiday, this Memorial Day, is for?

I shall always remember something happened in my life 40+ years ago and the man who taught me a valuable lesson.

I was an insurance salesman and had taken a client on the Friday before Memorial Day to a doctor for a physical examination for his new policy. After the examination, as my client and I were walking out of the doctor's office, I said to the doctor, "Have a nice week-end."

He looked at me, somewhat startled, and said only, "Good bye." But his expression caused me to think about what I had just said to him, and suddenly I "got" it.

This holiday, now always a three-day week-end rather than just being celebrated on the day of May 30th, is a time to pause and reflect on what it really means. Just this past week I received an email with photographs of many U.S. cemeteries in Europe and this list:

"In alphabetical order. Just Europe .

"1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne , France . A total of 2289 of our military dead.
2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes , Belgium . A total of 5329 of our dead.
3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France . A total of 4410 of our military dead.
4. Brookwood , England American Cemetery. A total of 468 of our dead.
5. Cambridge , England . 3812 of our military dead.
6. Epinal , France American Cemetery. A total of 5525 of our Military dead.
7. Flanders Field , Belgium . A total of 368 of our military.
8. Florence , Italy . A total of 4402 of our military dead.
9. Henri-Chapelle , Belgium . A total of 7992 of our military dead.
10. Lorraine , France . A total of 10,489 of our military dead.
11. Luxembourg , Luxembourg . A total of 5076 of our military dead.
12. Meuse-Argonne. A total of 14246 of our military dead.
13. Netherlands , Netherlands . A total of 8301 of our military dead.
14. Normandy , France . A total of 9387 of our military dead.
15. Oise-Aisne , France . A total of 6012 of our military dead.
16. Rhone , France . A total of 861 of our military dead.
17. Sicily , Italy . A total of 7861 of our military dead.
18. Somme , France . A total of 1844 of our military dead.
19. St. Mihiel , France . A total of 4153 of our military dead.20. Suresnes , France . A total of 1541 of our military dead.
20. Suresnes , France . A total of 1541 of our military dead."

So, this week-end, remember (or learn) the meaning of Memorial Day and consider finding an expression other than "Have a wonderful week-end."

1 comment:

Karen12359 said...

The same goes for the 4th of July. Many forget this country was fighting taxation without representation. 200 + years later it's worse.