Memorial Day will be observed on Monday
The significance of the observance will be diluted by competing sales promotions and leisure pursuits for the extended holiday weekend.
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
A reader called to my attention a poem by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), written while he was serving as Librarian for Congress. This masterpiece captures the essence of what Memorial Day is all about.
The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
Who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
They will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
It is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.