The phrase “Happy Memorial Day” seems a bit inappropriate in hindsight, considering that the holiday we recognize today is dedicated to the memory of those veterans who have died in the course of serving in our military. While we often recognize our soldiers for their acts of bravery, strength, or valor, we only set aside one day per year to remember the hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives in the course of their service.

Like many holidays, it seems that the purpose of Memorial Day can get lost amid the preparations and the events. As we go through the various memorial services, picnics, barbecues, and days off of work that we may be anticipating today, we can all to easily get caught up in the rush or excitement of spending time with friends, coworkers, and family. It seems easy to forget that Memorial Day was first created to remember the dead. And death is rarely associated with happiness

Perhaps, however, these celebrations are indeed a valuable way to honor the memory of the fallen. The soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the nation served in the military because the believed that their cause was just. They wished to protect their nation by fighting to defend it and its interests, both abroad and at home, and hoped in doing so to preserve our way of life. While America may be imperfect, our nation has successfully established one of the most prosperous and free societies in the history of the world. As such, we are also one of the only nations in the world in which people from virtually every community and stratum of society can participate in such celebrations freely.

When we celebrate with cookouts and picnics on Memorial Day, we are engaging in the very things that these soldiers sought to protect – American freedoms and the American community. Let us be mindful that the prosperity we are enjoying today would not be available to us without the sacrifices of so many people who believed that those liberties were something worth fighting and dying for.

From all of us at TheCollegeConservative, we wish you a truly Happy Memorial Day.


David Giffin | Emory University | @D_Giffin