I'll never forget being a little kid in the grocery store with my mom. We were getting hamburgers and hot dogs for a barbeque that we'd be hosting at our house for Memorial Day. As we were leaving after checking out, I told the cashier, "Happy Memorial Day."

My mom didn't say anything to me right away, but when we got into the parking lot she corrected me.

"We don't say happy Memorial Day," she explained.  "Memorial Day is a very solemn day, a day of remembrance for those who have sacrificed their lives serving in the United States military."

It's a message that I've done my best to pass along to my kids. While Memorial Day weekend has become synonymous for barbeques, blockbuster movie releases, and the unofficial kickoff to summer, we do our best at the Rock house to keep in mind the meaning behind the holiday. We definitely still enjoy the long weekend, but we pause to remember why it is a national holiday.

Townsquare Media Michael Rock
Townsquare Media Michael Rock

A lot of people confuse the meaning behind Veterans Day and Memorial Day. While Memorial Day honors military members that have given their lives in battle, Veterans Day is a bit different. Veterans Day is meant to honor all veterans who have served our country. Veterans that have served in peacetime and during wartime are recognized. Veterans Day honors both living and deceased veterans, but the main purpose is to demonstrate gratitude to living veterans.

So, instead of wishing a veteran a "Happy Veteran's Day" today, instead, be sure to offer a heartfelt "thank you."


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