James D. Huysman Psy.D., LCSW

Life in the Recovery Room

What Will You Be Doing at 3 PM on Monday?

Is Memorial Day just another long weekend for you?

Posted May 29, 2011

This weekend there will be lots of picnics, family reunions and summer kickoff activities.  Along with the revelry there will be drunk drivers arrested, barbeque flare-ups, sunburns and pool accidents.  Some are just happy that they'll have a long weekend.  Those who "have to" work will get time and a half.  That's all that Memorial Day means to them.

Some communities will have parades - In 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years - flags will be placed on graves at cemeteries, wreathes will be laid by public officials; there will be some consciousness as to what the day is supposed to be about. Sadly, these traditional observances have waned over the years.  Do you know the protocol for proper handling of the flag?  How long has it been since you were honored to "Wear a Poppy"? 

Should Memorial Day really be treated as just another long holiday weekend?  I think not.  Our VA hospital services have been strained to the max.  Family members are pressed into service as caregivers for those who have been seriously wounded or traumatized with very little support. 

On May 3, 2000 the White House issued the following press statement from then President Clinton, which read in part:

 As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal ''National Moment of Remembrance'' on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

 The "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in Dec 2000.  It asks that at 3 PM local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

So please, on this Memorial Day, just stop what you're doing and give some gratitude to the multitude who gave their lives for your right to have a long weekend.  Thanks.