The holiday of Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, just as Labor Day is the the end. It’s a long weekend of shopping, barbecues, drinking, trips, beach-going, and general revelry. It’s a time for fun. Or is it?
Memorial Day really has a different, sort-of forgotten meaning. It’s all in the name. It is a day to remember. The first Memorial Day was held in 1865 by freed African slaves. The next year, 1866, other Civil War Memorial Days (originally called Declaration Day) sprang up around America, both in the North and the South. Soon, many states began to make it an official holiday, choosing May 30th because it was not the anniversary of any battle. The holiday changed slightly over time; commemorating all those who died in war, not just the Civil War, and officially falling on the last Monday of the month.
The biggest change, however, has been the celebratory nature of the holiday. Originally a time for somber remembrance, now it is a time for gaiety. Although I enjoy good fun as much as most, and I have to admit that I have chicken marinating for the grill right now, I also think that it is important to recall the true meaning of the holiday.
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. People who faced threats that chill me to even think about. Normandy, D-Day, for example. It’s anniversary is only a week off, on June 6th. I truly cannot imagine that first wave off the boats and into the water. The men wading ashore, their breath in gasps, sobbing and screaming, warm piss clouding the cold Atlantic waters, bodies turning the shorebreak pink, the rat-a-tat-tat of the German machines guns drowning out everything except for the thunderous pounding of their own hearts and the angry wasp zip and buzz of the killing fire, the fate of the world as they knew it on their shoulders, to push forward. And I am very thankful that I do not have to.
Amidst the beer and barbecue, the jammed traffic and packed malls, the sunny beaches and good cheer, hold a thought, a little remembrance, for Memorial Day.
On Monday, on Memorial Day, all across America, CrossFit gyms remember Memorial Day with workouts in honor of those upon whose shoulders we stand.
Train hard folks and enjoy your holiday.
Please post thoughts to Comments.
Reminder: Monday classes are at 9am and 12pm only.
Set a new PR.
Any of the “Hero” WODs.