Happy Memorial Day
(Time to read: ~ 1 minute)
As a Canadian, it feels a bit strange to write that. And I have been enjoying comparing and contrasting the meaning behind Canada’s “Victoria Day” and American “Memorial Day”.
This year, they occur one week apart. Memorial Day is always the last Monday of May.
Victoria Day is the Monday before May 25 (May 24 was Queen Victoria’s birthday).
They are both considered the first long weekend of the summer.
Victoria Day has never had much more significance for me than that. Judging by my online research, that is true for many Canadians.
For this reason, I was quite moved and touched to learn of the original significance of Memorial Day.
My understanding is that it originated after the American Civil War, as a way of commemorating and appreciating the sacrifice of those who had died.
Over the years, it became a time of recognizing and appreciating the contribution of anyone important to us who has died, and whose life has enriched our own.
This makes it a very special time for me for two reasons.
- As someone who places a high value on noticing and acknowledging the ways in which other people contribute to my life.
- As someone who is devoting my life to teaching a way of thinking and communicating that seeks to make war and other forms of violence unnecessary – because we have learned more effective strategies for meeting everyone’s needs.
So I hope you had a happy Victoria Day. And I invite you to join with me in the spirit of Memorial Day.
P.S. My visit to the Vietnam War Memorial (pictured above) was a powerful reminder of the huge numbers of people whose lives and deaths have contributed to the quality of life I enjoy today. A quality of life that I want for everyone.
Photo credit: © Gino Santa Maria – Fotolia.com