This morning my eleven year old niece informed me that the word of the day was "Memorial". Being a cunning linguist who hopes to inspire others into appreciating etymology, I innocently asked what that meant. She was stumped at giving an off-the-cuff definition. So I tried another tact by asking "So what are we memorializing?" thinking that she would instinctively know. She responded "The Presidents?". That was a big no as even the colloquially called "Presidents' Day" is actually still Washington's Birthday (Observed).
Sadly, so many in our society simply see Memorial Day as the unofficial kickoff of the summer season. Or as the occasion to hold the Indy 500. Such a schoolgirl could be lead to think that it is just another day off of school. No wonder why Ruben Blades laments that we may be the best informed society that dies of ignorance.
These illustrations are graphic reminders of the depth of gratitude we should have for those in the Armed Services who fought and sometimes gave their lives to protect the freedoms we have to remain blissfully ignorant of their sacrifices for society.
So when pause to give our blessings at the afternoon picnic, I don't care if I interrupt Popes, Presidents, impresarios or impostor, I will insist that we thank heaven for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their brothers and sisters to live in freedom and aspire for peace.