In the United States, today is Memorial Day, a national holiday. Here, it marks the unofficial beginning of summer and is typically a time of social gathering and celebration. This year its celebratory aspects are even greater, because many of the pandemic-related restrictions on social activity have been lifted. People are traveling by air and car at levels not seen since March of last year. Bars and restaurants are packed. So are parks and beaches.
I don’t want to pour cold water on any of this, but the Memorial Day holiday was not established as a day of celebration. It was created as a day of remembrance and mourning of American military personnel who died in the performance of their duties. In its earliest incarnation after the Civil War, it was called “Decoration Day”, because mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers.
Nowadays, there are still solemn remembrances, but those are usually overshadowed by all the fun-loving activities, and by politicians and businesses who use the day as an excuse to engage in flag-waving glorification of the military. Many of those are the same people who hypocritically do nothing to help military personnel once they’re out of uniform, but badly need help because of physical or mental injuries suffered during their service. Trying to survive apparently doesn’t count nearly as much as dying.