Submitted by Tech
What is Memorial Day? Is it the first three day weekend of the year created to mark the beginning of summer? If you ask three different people you might get three different answers. One might say that it is just that, the beginning of the summer season. Another might say that it is a holiday created by Congress to give us another three day weekend. But the true answer is that Memorial Day has been set aside to remember all those who have given their lives for our freedom in this great country of ours. It originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers who had served during that war. It originally was called Decoration Day in reference to the placing of decorations on the graves of Confederate soldiers in the South by the women and children of Richmond and other Southern cities.
Today, like a lot of other traditions in our society, the true meaning of the holiday has been either lost or forgotten by most of the participants. The ultimate sacrifice made by those whom we remember on this day should never be minimized, much less forgotten, whether or not we agree with the circumstances surrounding their deaths. But, if they were still with us they would undoubtedly agree that although the reason for the holiday has somber overtones, there is no need to not celebrate the results of their sacrifices. We can, and do, take advantage of this holiday to enjoy the beginning of summer, to look forward to the Indianapolis 500 car race, to anticipate the fireworks on the 4th of July and to know that in three months there will be another three day holiday to enjoy.
So, for those of us who have to work for a living, what lessons can we learn from this holiday and apply to our jobs?
The first is easy: Remember who came before you and sacrificed so that you could be a part of the team. But, you might say, what do you mean by sacrifice? Didn’t they have job to do just like I do? They didn’t give me their job, I earned my own. This may be true but if it were not for them doing their job and helping the team to succeed then the company may not have been there to give you a job.
The second thing we can learn is that our jobs are not all about doom and gloom. You know what I’m talking about. We sometimes fall into the trap of believing that we are miserable because we have to get up every day and go to work. But what is the alternative? Not having to get up because we don’t have a job and there is nothing much to live for because our society demands that if we are to participate in this life we need to have money, money that is usually gained from employment. So just like Memorial Day is not all about doom and gloom, our jobs can and should be a source of enjoyment and celebration.
The third lesson is the most apparent and easiest to understand: Our jobs are connected to all those in our lives. We are a part of a bigger picture that in and of itself is comparable to an immense sentient organism made up of all of us who provide for ourselves and are families by holding down a job. We get up and go to work because it is in our DNA to do so. We have been hard wired to work. Some work is easy and fun-filled while other jobs are difficult and tedious. But, all jobs are purposeful and require someone to take care of it.
Just like those being remembered on Memorial Day and the connection we have with their sacrifice, so we can know that the “sacrifice” we make by dutifully holding down a job and supporting not only ourselves but our loved ones, connects us to those around us in a way that allows us to celebrate our lives, not just on a special day of remembrance, but every day.
So, as you celebrate this Memorial Day remember to remember not only those for whom this holiday has been created but to all those who do what they have to do. Be thankful that you are a recipient of the benefits from the many and varied sacrifices of those who have gone before you. Remember, what you are doing today is paving the way for the future. Be diligent in what you do so those who come after us can share in the celebration.