What does Memorial Day mean to you? Do you have any special memories?
What does Memorial Day mean to you? Does it have any special memories? Or is it just a day off work or school? A big barbecue?
Memorial Day reminds me of small towns and patriotism. It is one of my fondest memories of growing up in rural America. It reminds me of the elderly lady in my hometown handing out poppies on the corner. She had lost a fiancée in WWI and a son in WWII.
When I was in high school I was what was commonly known as a “speech nerd” or “theater geek”. Because of that, on Memorial Day, one of my “Troupe” members and I were always asked to recite either “In Flanders Fields” or the “Emancipation Proclamation” in the local park. We took turns memorizing the presentation. One year I would do “Flanders Field” and he would do the “Emancipation Proclamation” and the next year we would switch. We had the gig locked up for the four years we were in high school.
There was a parade down a flag filled Main Street into the picturesque city park. The park was also filled with flags and the veterans, in their uniforms, would walk nobly through a pathway full of red, white and blue banners, solemnly following the color guard. Then we would start the speeches:
“In Flanders field the poppies grow, between the crosses row on row…”
“Fourscore and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…..”
Of course there would be the mandatory singing of the national anthem and a prayer would be said. It was very poignant and beautiful.
Prior to 2001, I wondered how I would teach my children the meaning of Memorial Day. In my naivete, I believed that wars were probably in the past and we would only see small little outbreaks. Who anticipated September 11th? Immediately after September 11th and for a few years following I feel that the school and community did a great job of re-inspiring patriotism. I felt like we were supportive of our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq and I was proud to be one of the people at the airport who would go up and shake a soldier’s hand and thank him or her for their service.
But here we are in 2013. My ten year old isn’t really sure why we celebrate Memorial Day but she knows there is no school. The country is war weary and Memorial Day celebrations seem somewhat perfunctory. We did interviews for our Millionaire Corner website and asked people what Memorial Day meant to them. Unfortunately for many, they weren’t really sure why we celebrate Memorial Day.
But I believe that those who have grandparents that talked about the wars do remember. And I also believe those families who have fathers, sons and husbands who currently or recently served in the military also remember.
I would like to refer you to a link to what I believe is the greatest Memorial Day speech ever made. It is a speech made by Ronald Reagan on the 40th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. I cannot read the speech without breaking into tears. I hope that someday I can convince my children to read and understand the importance of this speech and what it stands for not only for my generation but for their generation as well. http://www.examiner.com../Content_Free/text-ronald-reagan-s-normandy-speech
I hope that someday you take the time to read this speech. I hope you can also share it with others. I hope you can explain to your children the importance of the poppy. And most of all, I hope you have a happy and meaningful Memorial Day.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.