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Memorial Day Should Not Be An Excuse To Celebrate


For far too many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning.

The federal holiday was designed to remember the men and women who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Unfortunately, in recent years the day has come to mark the unofficial start of summer or gets confused with Veteran’s Day.

“You all know that this is the first official beginning weekend of summer. For far too many Americans, that’s how they choose to celebrate this weekend,” said Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, during a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday in Union Grove.

“Those of us who are here, we recognize, we remember, we will never forget. It’s Memorial Day weekend, to remember.”

For many veterans and their loved ones, the day means something much, much more. It’s a day to honor their dead.

“Wrong thing to say to a veteran today: ‘thank you for serving.’ Although much appreciated, most will correct you. Today is not their day,” writes Cindy Oros Fredericksen, a retired Kenosha Police officer and local supporter of veterans. Her husband, Thomas Fredericksen served in the Vietnam War and was honored by the city of Kenosha for his service last year.

“(Memorial Day) is the day to remember those (their comrades) who died while serving and they will make sure you know that. Veterans have Veteran’s Day.”

Oros Fredericksen said she believes saying “Happy Memorial Day” is also not appropriate.

“Memorial Day has lost its meaning because people just don’t have a clue. We need to know what it is about. I feel like I just have to say that because I’m seeing it in person and on TV and it’s really bothering me,” Fredericksen added. 

For many veterans and their loved ones, the day means something much, much more. It’s a day to honor their dead.

Navy veteran Luke Visconti, who co-founded the website DiversityInc, recently told NPR that veterans may also be going through a bit of melancholy on Memorial Day as they honor those who died.

Visconti encourages anyone who wants to say supportive words to a veteran remember “that the person may have friends who died in combat.”

“I think sometimes maybe just a pat on the back or an arm around the shoulder is really better than words,” Visconti said. “So just be a friend.”

Image: Children wave American flags in support of veterans and military service members while soldiers from the 316th ESC march through downtown Pittsburgh during the Veterans Day parade, Nov. 11, 2011. Courtesy WikiMedia Commons.