I have always thought it is appropriate my birthday falls over Memorial Day weekend. It seems like such a paradox to celebrate the beginning of a life during a time we are remembering those in death; yet many of our celebrations would not exist without the men and women who gave their lives in service to this country.
Across the U.S. many of us will have a three-day weekend, throw backyard BBQ’s, head to the beach and spend our day how we see fit welcoming warm weather into our lives. In that time, let us remember Memorial Day is more than just a holiday.
Almost one-hundred fifty years ago in cities west of the Mississippi neighborhoods closed their businesses to decorate the graves and headstones of those who died during the Civil War. Little more than thirty years later, the entire country was observing a holiday then known as “Decoration Day”. It was with the end of World War I the observance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during any U.S. war were also recognized. It was not actually until 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday during the month of May. In response to numerous radio and news stations playing Taps during the 15:00 (3:00pm) hour, in 2000 Congress also established the National Moment of Remembrance as an act of national unity requesting all Americans stop whatever they are doing; wherever they may be, for one minute to pay respect to our fallen.
So let us not forget to pause, for just a moment; a humble gesture of acknowledgement of the true meaning of this day. And as I celebrate another year of life, in reverence I remember those who gave theirs so I can be here. I thank them for this gift; though thank you never feels like enough…
Postscript: To all of those remembering a loved one, know that they are never forgotten. Thank you for the love you gave them. It mattered. And it matters, still. Please carry that with you, always.
Business Traveler Magazine’s Business Traveler of the Year, Heather Wilson, is a corporate event marketing manager proudly married to a US Navy Sailor. A newlywed and proud cancer survivor who made history with her belly-button, she is addicted to loose-leaf tea and despite being half-Colombian has never had a cup of coffee in her life. Heather blogs about her adventures and all things “life” at Life of a Traveling Navy Wife. When she’s not traveling the world, you can find Heather with her husband on their Harley Davidson enjoying the beautiful San Diego scenery, strolling through Balboa Park walking her pet lizards, giving back to her community and trying to figure out to which hair color she should finally stick.