Memorial Day has many different interpretations
May 26, 2007
Memorial Day is suffering from an identity crisis. What began as a day to honor the nation’s war dead has become, instead, a celebration of the first long weekend of summer.
While a few faithful still decorate veterans’ graves at the cemeteries around Park City and Summit County, Veterans Day seems to have eclipsed Memorial Day as a time to recognize the nation’s service men and women. Meanwhile, Memorial Day is becoming better known as an opportunity to christen the new barbecue grill.
Nevertheless, each spring, many families set aside the fourth Monday in May to reunite with family and to visit graves of relatives.
It is always bittersweet to drive past Summit County’s brightly decorated cemeteries on Memorial Day knowing that some families’ grief is still fresh. Our communities were not immune, this year, from tragedy and, on Monday, we will be reminded of the pain endured by those who lost friends and family members to illness and fatal accidents.
Though sad, gathering to retell stories of ancestors and departed friends is an important part of strengthening a sense of community. It is especially important in a town where so many have come from so far away. Since many recent transplants to Summit County have few nearby relatives, they tend to favor the barbecue pit over the cemetery on Memorial Day — but we would argue both are important.
Unfortunately, it appears there will be no formal Memorial Day observance in Park City this year. Those who used to organize the event perhaps hoped a younger generation would take up the responsibility. And we are hoping they still will.
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