It's the unofficial start of summer, a big day for barbecuing, a great day to find a cheap piece of furniture or grab a big sale somewhere and a day off from work for most of us. However, the disgusting abundance of retail businesses that are open today is a concept I don't quite grasp.
While I realize that there is more money to be made by being open on a holiday than not, I would think that a sense of history and respect would prevent it. Maybe it is because so many businesses are owned by non-native Americans that keeps them open, I don't know. I could assume it is simple greed, and I would at least be partly correct.
In the United States, today is Memorial Day, which we have been celebrating in one form or another since 1866. It used to be called Decoration Day, but was officially declared Memorial Day in 1967. Until 1968 it was celebrated on May 30, but the U.S. Government passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, and it was moved to the last Monday in May.
And therein lies part of the problem. No less a group of Americans than our federal government believes that the long weekend is more important than the holiday. When the priorities of the government are to extend workers' weekends at the expense of tradition, how can we expect TD Bank to be closed? Those of us who are old enough to remember that the country would pretty much shut down on a holiday find the new system a bit hard to take. Would it kill the supermarket to close today? As far as they are concerned, it is more important to meet their quarterly earnings than it is to pay respect to people who died for us.
Memorial Day is not only a day off from work, it is a symbolic gesture to remember people who died because they were called to duty by their government. The very government who changed the rules in favor of big business. We have no other way to thank them, and the least we could do as Americans is sacrifice a precious day of revenue for the sake of the men and women who helped make it possible for you to have revenue to begin with.
Is that too difficult a concept to grasp?