Our next national holiday. Memorial Day is right around the corner, and many small and not-so-small businesses are starting to acknowledge the upcoming event with splashy print and radio ads, promoting sales and specials and boldly proclaiming, “Happy Memorial Day.”
While Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer season, putting “Happy” and “Memorial Day” together is a touch disrespectful. Let’s think about this.
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who died in service of our country. The first Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, was named by John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. That day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 people decorated graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
As a footnote, the holiday changed from honoring only those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war after WWI. And almost every state observes the date on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.
So, if your small business traditionally holds a Memorial Day sale, consider tastefully incorporating patriotism in your promotions. Hang flags in your establishment. Include a note of thanks for our servicemen and all they do in your advertisements.
If your community is holding a Memorial Day remembrance event, such as a local parade or town hall gathering, consider getting involved and offering assistance, such as contributing waters, giving a donation for a local related cause, or just lending a hand.
For those who have lost a loved one in service to our country, Memorial Day is, at best, a time of reflection, gratitude – and sadness.
So, as a small business, please be mindful. And remind your employees to do the same. The world “Happy” simply does not go with Memorial Day. Regardless of your political beliefs, those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice and those who are still serving are very likely members of your community and are deserving of compassion and respect.
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