Editorial: Let us not forget today

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day for decades had been on May 30. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Act, which took effect in 1971. It fixed Memorial Day as the last Monday in May so that the populace can have a three-day weekend. It did the same for Labor Day and Columbus Day, and it unites Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday for a day called Presidents’ Day.

When it passed, the travel industry rejoiced. The measure, which easily passed in the House of Representatives and Senate, was intended to reduce absenteeism, halt midweek interruptions of work and bolster tourism.

And it worked.

Email newsletter signup

However, it has been argued that the shift of Memorial Day away from May 30 to the last Monday in May has undermined the intent of the holiday. Some say holidays are not created for the benefit of commerce.

The bill did stir controversy at the time and that debate remains with us. Politicians felt we would lose our respect for history. (How many children today know by heart that Washington was born Feb. 22?)

The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization in 2002 stated the shift has &8220;contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.&8221;

Let us not lose sight of the significance of today. Honor our war veterans for their courage, and decorate their graves in remembrance. Let us keep the original intent of this holiday in mind. It’s the least we can do.