I see an American flag. What day is it again?

There are reminders popping up all over the place to remember the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day.

And you know what?  I need those reminders.

If I see a nativity, I think Christmas.

If I see a jack-o-lantern, I think Halloween.

But when I see an American flag?  I think 4th of July.

Can’t help it.  

So if Memorial Day is about remembering those who served and died for our country, instead of the stores putting tiny flags in the ground to draw customers in for the sales, why don’t they put tiny tombstones in the ground instead?  ‘Cause, let’s be honest, the visual of Arlington National Cemetery definitely depicts the reason for this holiday in a more direct fashion.

And what’s up with all the retail sales?  If I’m so busy remembering the fallen soldiers, then why am I so concerned about a new refrigerator?  And if remembering the soldiers is such a big deal, then why don’t the news programs spend more time telling us the daily statistics, whereabouts, successes and losses of our military instead of reporting on the latest summer fashion trends or who won American Idol?  As much as I wish that our attitude was more genuine regarding Memorial Day, as a nation, unfortunately it all feels more contrived when you consider how eagerly programs report on discouraging military stories versus their more optimistic updates all of the other 364 days in the year.

Excellent observation, Square Piece.  Excellent observation.

Our country’s methods of visual and practical celebration are so confusing.

I think I’d do a much better job remembering the true reason for Memorial Day if it had its own unique symbol, much like Easter and Thanksgiving do.  (Except I don’t believe we’ll ever have a true, grim visual reminder take the place of the typical American flag because we’re too afraid to offend people with the truth.  Heaven forbid our grieving keep us from purchasing more refrigerators!)  On the same note, Labor Day could also use a facelift.  Maybe if we did something about these symbolic visuals, I could actually remember which one – Labor Day or Memorial Day – comes first each year.

American flags everywhere… meaning different things at different times…

Are we celebrating or observing?  Is this about fallen soldiers, the nation’s birthday or the economic contribution of workers?

It’s so confusing.

It sure wasn’t hard to replace Christ’s resurrection with the Easter Bunny, so we can make this happen, right?

(Sorry if these thoughts come across as offensive.  Certainly not my intention.)


  1. May 27, 2012

    I guess since they fought to keep our flag flying that’s why they have all the flags? it’s all patriotic and the most patriotic thing is the flag …. we watched Flags of Our Fathers again last night … so sad … hard to believe that anybody wins when it comes to war …..

  2. May 27, 2012
    charles armstrong

    When I see the flag, I see our right to worship God the way we want. Other countries do not have such freedom. Men and women gave their lives for us. GOD BLESS AMERICA !

  3. May 28, 2012

    This made me laugh. Not in a haha way but in a she is so right way. I really want to spend time with my family today. None have really served in the military. But for those that have and still do serve this country. It reminds me of all of the freedom and safety we have as a nation. Yes many sales happen on holidays. I guess that may be some of the reason people loose perspective on the actual holiday and the true meaning. Sales are ok and if you happen to get a good deal on that day awesome! But remember day for what it truly is! Have a great day

  4. May 28, 2012

    I too have a hard time knowing which one comes first, labor day or memorial day. I agree that they should come up with something better than just the flag for today. When I see the flag I think of freedom. That is prob. just the milatary bratt in me. I grew up as a Military bratt, and I am so proud to say so. My dad is my hero in more ways than one. Thanks for todays post.

  5. May 28, 2012

    Flags represent freedom…. freedom to shop?

  6. May 29, 2012

    Remember there are After Christmas Sales (New Year’s), Easter clearances, Memorial Day Sell-a-Thons, Labor Day celebrations, Thanksgiving sales,
    (Black Friday), and certainly, promotions every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

    We are a nation driven by consumption. The occasion gives us an excuse. That being said, I always know Memorial Day because of the beautiful concert from the mall paying tribute to soldiers. If you haven’t watched you should. Had to be cut short because of rain this year, but they showed last year’s again which was just fine with me. It is inspirational.

  7. June 5, 2012

    Suzy, I’m very much with you on this. as a veteran (I did five years in the Air Force), i find it very annoying to go out on holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day to see all of these retail establishments flying flags to get peoples’ attention, but not really doing anything to remember or honor those who served.

    personally, for me, Memorial Day is supposed to be one of solemn remembering those who gave their lives for this country–and I’m not only talking about those who died–many men and women served this country in uniform who may have not lost their physical lives, but instead have lost arms, legs, mobility, peace of mind, the ability to live a ‘normal’ life, and so forth.

    Where is the ‘memorial’ in Memorial Day for these people and their families, as well as those who died?

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