Years ago when I was a designer working at an exhibit company in San Francisco we had a Memorial Day party, complete with beer and barbeque…my favorite things. The wife of the shop foreman brought in a cake that she had decorated.
A beautiful flowery design in icing on top of the cake read, “Happy Memorial Day!”
Major faux pas on my part: I looked at the cake and said, “Happy Memorial Day? That seems kind of weird, considering the holiday.”
Not knowing where the cake came from (I thought the boss ordered it), the shop foreman snapped out, “Dude, my wife made that cake”. Both he and his wife, obviously offended, glared at me and my indiscretion. I calmly apologized and shrank away. But it got me thinking and I have related this story every year since it happened.
Memorial Day was enacted as Decoration Day after the Civil War to commemorate U.S. men who have died while in military service. Died. Dead and gone. These were guys who joined — or were drafted into — the armed forces with the knowledge that they may be killed. But they took on that charge; that’s more than I can admit to.
Over the years I have pretty much become apolitical: I choose to tune in, turn on, and drop out: and let everyone else hash it out. I live in a radically political part of the U.S.A. and just want to simply build stuff with wood in my shop. No matter your political persuesion — or whether we should be involved in any particular conflict dejour — the fact of the matter is, people have died following orders. There is nothing happy about that.
So while you are enjoying your barbeque or going to a mattress sale — and I’ll enjoy the day off as much as the next guy — stop for a moment and think about what it is this day is about. And for heaven’s sake, think before you wish someone a “Happy Memorial Day”.
-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers. http://www.WoodworkingForMereMortals.com