Memorial Day Is the Veterans Day of Labor Day

Happy Memorial Day! I don’t know what it’s about either.

I suspect that it’s the day we honor our memories of war memorials, like the time you went to Arlington National Cemetery and your best friend told you that Grace Chaniwilli liked you, but actually was just seeing how you’d react, because he liked her more and wanted to ask her to the middle-school dance, and the teacher sent you back to the bus early because you angrily threw a Capri Sun at him. In other words, Memorial Day is a time of somber remembrance of all that we’ve lost.

Of course, I’m kidding. Memorial Day is about great sales. Mostly on grilling equipment.

Few people younger than 148 recall this, but Memorial Day originated in 1868 as Decoration Day—an outpouring of gratefulness for everything that our nation’s bunting manufactories sacrificed in order to prepare for patriotic parades for Civil War veterans. These brave fabric mill owners saw their duty to something higher than mere obscene profits, and dedicated the new holiday to special flag-themed sales in which they only earned ordinary profits (“manifest proceeds,” in the parlance of the times). However, according to historical records, Union veterans grew irate at the flags constantly whipping them in the face and declared that only the proper way to honor them would be to put flowers on their lost compatriot’s gravesites. Nevertheless, the industrial flag-sewing interests eventually triumphed over the corrupt cabal of flower-sellers, and we now celebrate Memorial Day with hamburgers.

So Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy internet shopping while eating hot dogs from discount American-flag paper plates. More importantly, enjoy your time with family and friends. Many men and women have died to give us this freedom, and though we may not use it well, they and their families deserve our respect and honor.

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