Thoughtful alternatives to “Happy Memorial Day”


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For several years now, we’ve been told, “don’t say Happy Memorial Day.” But as humans, we try to be pleasant and a lot of times the first thing to come to mind is just that: “Happy Memorial Day.” Here are my thoughts on the matter and some useful, polite alternatives for you to consider.

It’s true, most holidays are happy occasions and cause for celebration. But Memorial Day just doesn’t have that same vibe for me.⁣

When we reflect on the sacrifices of generations of patriots, the untimely deaths of grandfathers, brothers, daughters, neighbors, and friends, the word “happy” isn’t quite right.⁣

Words like important, noble, courageous, impactful, sad, and unfair are more accurate for me. And I can’t even imagine the words that would come to mind if I had actually lived through the loss of a soldier close to me.⁣

We’re used to wishing people well around holidays and special events. And that’s an important way for us to connect as humans. But I tend to think of Memorial Day differently.⁣

Of course, I intend to enjoy the day off, the cookouts, the time with loved ones, and the freedom to do all those things. But I also intend to verbalize my thoughts, prayers, respect, and appreciation for all that has come before this weekend.⁣

If you feel the same way I do and would like to publicly recognize the impact of Memorial Day, here are a few suggestions for things to say or post instead of “Happy Memorial Day.”

And don’t forget you should fly your flags at half-staff on Memorial Day. Here’s how to do this at home, even if you don’t have a flag pole!



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