Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

I had any number of pet peeves while working in the newsroom.  It always bugged me when reporters used an apostrophe to make a singular noun plural.  It's also known as the "grocery store plural."

                                            One apple costs 25 cents.
                                            Buy five apple's for a dollar and save 25 cents!

I chafed at the practice of using a variation of the word "they" to avoid a stereotyping sexual assignment (although it appears to be gaining more and more acceptance from people who know more than I about the English language.)

                                             It's back-to-school time.
                                             Make sure your child gets their shots!

And every year, as summer approached, I reminded my staff that Memorial Day is not about veterans.  And it's not happy.

Memorial Day dates back to 1868.  Americans first observed it as Decoration Day and decorated the graves of the Civil War war dead with flowers.  As time went by, it evolved into a day to remember every American who died while serving his or her country in time of war. And so it is today.

Memorial Day is not a happy occasion.  It is not appropriate to wish anyone a Happy Memorial Day.

Neither is Memorial Day a day for thanking our veterans.  Veterans Day is November 11 (although the point could be made that every day we wake up in the greatest country in the world could and should be observed as Veterans Day.)

Veterans Day is for the living. Memorial Day is for the dead.

So. Memorial Day is neither happy nor about veterans.

It is also, despite what the Democratic Party might suggest, not about President Obama enjoying an ice cream cone.

The Democratic Party tweeted this image with the massage, "Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Everyone."

It is disgraceful, and insulting to the memory of every serviceman and woman who offered up what another president, Abraham Lincoln, once called "the last full measure of devotion."

By all means, go out and enjoy your three day holiday weekend.  I certainly will.  But remember what the holiday is all about and govern yourself accordingly.