The elite of the work-stopping holidays is essentially a universally accepted bunch: Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, and Easter. Being an accountant, it is fair to consider these the “Big Four” holidays. While many might make the argument that each one of these celebrations is better than the other, I am prepared to drop some language on you that will just fuck your shit up.
Memorial Day is the ultimate holiday. Memorial Day.
Yes- I said Memorial Day. I know, this is possibly the hottest opinion of 2016, but I wouldn’t put my head under the guillotine if I didn’t think I had a legitimate case.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended to honor Union those who had fallen in battle. Originally known as Decoration Day, this annual recognition dedicated to Union veterans competed with the old Confederate’s Memorial Day, which honored only Confederate veterans, for nearly 40 years before the two were combined in the early 1900s to form the super-holiday of ‘Memorial Day’ we’ve come to know today.
Regardless of the holiday’s obscure history, celebrating veterans is just an American thing to do. When ESPN broadcasts the montage of troops reuniting with their family, I am guaranteed to turn on the waterworks. I get the same feeling of patriotism when they wheel out an old veteran from D-Day rocking his First Airborne hat at a baseball game. Pretty much everyone knows somebody who served in the military, so this holiday really doesn’t discriminate. Without the men and women who served our country, you would be drinking tea and eating flavorless food without like our friends across the pond. So when you’re sucking down a Budweiser and crushing a cheeseburger this weekend, just do a little Sammy Sosa point to the sky out of respect.
Memorial Day always takes place on the last Monday of May. Sure, Memorial Day is technically one day, and on a Monday to boot. That being said, unless you’ve never looked at a calendar, Monday is the day after a Sunday, therefore making this a three-day weekend. Americans love long weekends. It means that you only have four days of work instead of the traditional five. Since we don’t live in Spain where they sleep 12 hours a day, that extra day of debauchery is a huge morale booster and opportunity for recovery. That’s right — regardless of the calendar, it’s a guaran-damn-tee that every Memorial Day is going to grant you a three-day weekend, and you will not have to take any vacation at all to get your kicks in. Christmas and Fourth of July, though, cannot say the same regarding consistently extended weekends. Well, technically they’re set on December 25th and July 4th, Rooney. But take a guess what happens when July 4th falls on a Wednesday? That’s right, your boy is going back to work on Thursday. The same goes for Christmas. That means the day after I’ve stuffed my face with HoneyBaked Ham and sugar cookies, I somehow have to roll my ass out of bed and get to my cube. Easter being on a Sunday doesn’t really do anything for anyone, unless you went to Catholic school and got five days off after the fact. As for Thanksgiving, I work for a company that doesn’t give me the following Friday off. Sacrificing a vacation day is like cutting off an arm, which is why Memorial Day is the perfect length.
For a lifetime resident of America’s breadbasket like myself, it is pretty much common knowledge that Memorial Day weekend represents the beginning of the summer. When you live in the Midwest, you never truly feel safe from the winter until you’ve made it to Memorial Day weekend. I’ve seen inches of snow in the beginning of May, and it has given me PTSD ever since. Winter is always coming in the Great Plains, so getting an extended weekend with some sun is a change of pace. Memorial Day weekend usually presents the opportunity to get tagged by the sun, which I embrace with open arms considering the alternative. Christmas, to me, is just a colder Thanksgiving. Sorry, but a white Christmas is overrated. It doesn’t make me any more excited about the holidays. If I could substitute snow-blowing my driveway for lying in a Vitruvian man position next to a cooler of barley pops on the beach, I wouldn’t think twice.
Just do something American. If I have to explain what an American activity is, then you’re not an American. Drink for 72 hours straight. Hit the links. Watch a baseball game. Eat hot dogs. See a concert and wear a killer Hawaiian shirt. For me, being near a body of water has become almost a necessity. Pontoon-boating in God’s country with the sun beating down is my favorite thing in the world. It gives me the feeling of freedom knowing the man can’t get me down until Tuesday. The summer is just beginning, and it’s just a taste of what is to come for the next three months. Some of my fondest memories have taken place over Memorial Day weekend including the time I had my first beer and when I graduated from high school. With memories like that, it is impossible to not enjoy this weekend. Whatever your plans are this weekend, just keep it American and you can be happy knowing George Washington would have done the same.
In all seriousness, this is a day you should be swollen with pride that you live in the land of the free and home of the brave. Having been a grandson to two WWII and Korea veterans, I stick my chest out a little further on this day every year. Whether or not you have relatives or friends who have served in the military, you should be honored at the fact that you live in a country that has some serious theoretical balls that isn’t afraid to walk into a party with them hanging out. So when you’re doing whatever it is that you like to do on this fine holiday, just take a moment to put your beer down and remember those who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice..