Happy Memorial Day?

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Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 1543 days ago 1833 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

12 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2198 posts in 1660 days

#1 posted 1543 days ago

Steve, You seem to have taken the words right out of my mouth. I am privileged enough to say that I have had a relative serve in EVERY war since the revolutionary war. It is because of these great service men and women that we have the freedom to practice out woodworking art as we do. We have the freedom and liberties that their sacrifices provided. I for one would like to take this time to say THANK YOU!!!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View nailbanger2's profile


958 posts in 1768 days

#2 posted 1543 days ago

Steve, I have known some of those that died while serving, it could have been me. Sometimes ,however, you just have to go with the flow. That party may have been one of those times. I know what you are saying, and agree there is nothing Happy about it. I just let it go over my head like an F-15 in afterburner. May you have a Sad Memorial Day , my friend.

However, I am cooking a beef roast on the grill, enjoying an adult beverage, and am enjoying the freedom they gave so much for, so I can’t be sad.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Dave Price's profile

Dave Price

90 posts in 1599 days

#3 posted 1543 days ago

very well said, i think a lot of people “including me” do not realize the true meaning for a lot of holidays we celebrate. i think as Americans we should reflect often for the men and women who have fought and died to give us our lifestyle we are accustomed to. with out our brave heroes who knows where we would be.

-- Dave Price , Roswell New Mexico

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2202 days

#4 posted 1543 days ago

In short your saying remember our fallen vets ,as we should. thanks for the post Steve.

-- Custom furniture

View Stevinmarin's profile


837 posts in 1700 days

#5 posted 1543 days ago

Nailbanger: I don’t mean for anyone to construe that I am morose and wish them a Sad Memorial Day. I plan on enjoying the day and barbequing on the grill. We should all enjoy the day! But just take a single moment to think.

Well said, though.


-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1057 posts in 1833 days

#6 posted 1542 days ago

Thanks, Steve. Well said. We have much to celebrate thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but never “happy” that they did.

View poroskywood's profile


614 posts in 1989 days

#7 posted 1542 days ago

Well said. A thoughtful, reflective Steve. Maybe not crazy at all….hmm

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View dan abalos's profile

dan abalos

106 posts in 1607 days

#8 posted 1542 days ago

Amen Steve,
To think that someone would be offended at the thought of some common sense about a day remembering the dead soldiers of this greatest country is just wrong. Who do these people think gave us the freedom we enjoy today to do the things we want, the things we can say and the right to fulfill our dreams that practically every other country in the entire world cannot do. I applaud and appreciate the soldiers and their sacrifices so that we may grill and drink beer and have a day off of work. God bless America and its bravest soldiers, the best in the world, bar none!
Remembering memorial day 2010

-- Beer is the reason I exist on this earth, that and my family! (Aurora, IL) my blog:

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 2871 days

#9 posted 1542 days ago

I don’t know who said it Steve, but they said it best, “Least We Forget.” It is a great day indeed to celebrate what our fallen comrades have given us, and what they gave. Thanks To Every Vet and active duty person. May God protect those serving and grant a place of peace for those that have died serving their country. Spec 4, Michael Wurm, US ARMY retired.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View woodcrafter47's profile


349 posts in 1730 days

#10 posted 1542 days ago

Some gave some, and some gave ALL.Thanks you vets.
I served in USAF 1967-1971

-- In His service ,Richard

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

421 posts in 2323 days

#11 posted 1542 days ago

Good form! I agree 100% I never joined the armed forces but my son goes into the Navy in the fall.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View OutPutter's profile


1194 posts in 2615 days

#12 posted 1541 days ago

Hi Steve,
I’m sorry to hear that you were so scarred by that cake so many years ago. I had to read all the way through the post to figure out what your comment meant. Maybe it was in the way you said it that struck such a nerve with the cake maker’s hubby? As for me, please wish me a Happy Memorial Day anytime you want. Not because I’m “happy” people died for me to be free but because I’m happy I’m free. I suppose we celebrate things to remind us of the prize as well as the price.

I think there should be no shame in not walking on eggshells around vets who know those that paid the ultimate price. Stretch out your hand, smile, and say thanks to the ones you can still thank. They may carry scars they’ve acquired giving us our freedom that in some ways are harder to bear than death. I don’t want to think all vets are walking around on Memorial Day with sadness but, if some are, a smiling, happy, thank you could just bring a little cheer. I think that may be why vets march in parades and wear the uniforms of the past. Just for a little thank you to cheer them up a bit.

So thank you vets and Happy Memorial Day! Then again, what do I know?

-- Jim

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