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It’s Not Just Hot Dogs and Hamburgers

Memorial Day is an odd holiday.

On the one hand, it is exhilarating in a good way.  Thought of as the unofficial start to summer, pools open, barbecue grills are fired up, and most Americans enjoy a 3-day weekend.  Memorial Day weekend is meant to be great fun.

On the other hand, Memorial Day is perhaps the most somber holiday on the American calendar.  Formerly known as Decoration Day as a way to remember the soldiers lost in the Civil War, the term Memorial Day was first used in 1882, although it wasn’t declared as the official name until 1967.  Turns out Memorial Day was not meant to be where it is on the calendar now.  In 1968 it was moved, along with three other holidays, to a Monday as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to give Americans easy to schedule three-day weekends.

Starting in 1987, Hawaii Senator and World War II veteran Daniel Inouye unsuccessfully introduced a measure to restore the holiday to its original date.  He continued introducing it until his death in 2012.

Many Americans confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day.  Veterans Day honors those who served, and Memorial Day honors those who died – not exactly in sync with a holiday synonymous with summer fun.  At Carolina Career College, a large percentage of our student population served our country.  It is a great honor to help them transition to a career in Information Technology.  Perhaps because we interact with these heroes every day, we are keenly aware how important this holiday is and will take some time to reflect on why it is recognized in the first place.

We hope you do too.

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