Is ‘Happy’ The Right Greeting For ‘Memorial Day’?



Anura Guruge

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This morning I heard, twice on CNN, folks wishing each other and the viewers a ‘Happy Memorial Day‘.

I fully understand where they are coming from, but to me it seems like an oxymoron, if not, at worst, incongruous.

I have similar problems when it come to some of the Jewish holidays. Should you really wish somebody a ‘Happy Yom Kippur‘? Same with Good Friday (as opposed to Easter Sunday).

I think that the greeting should include something along the lines of ‘Have a Reflective Memorial Day‘.

If you are referring to the entire holiday weekend I can understand people using the word happy.

Just a thought.

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About Anura Guruge

See 'The Blogger' on my blog.

6 responses to “Is ‘Happy’ The Right Greeting For ‘Memorial Day’?”


    Am never clear why people nowadays are always wishing each other Happy something or other. Must have come in with Hallmark cards promotion.
    You do have a problem – you have a statutory warm holiday long weekend
    anchored by the national day of mourning for your fallen of domestic and
    foreign wars.
    Too bad US left the Empire where Queen Empress Victoria still gives us a
    May holiday -“24th of May, Queen’s birthday, If you don’t give us a holiday, we’ll all run away…”
    -Up here in Canada we’ve resisted making our national day of remembrance
    a paid day off, in view of the solemnity of the occasion. A reason why the
    poppy works. Unfortunately in recent times veteran interests are encroaching on the “day of the dead” and this honouring families of the fallen, with a prior
    week celebrating their own survival – a bit of “I’m all right Jack”…as if being a discharged solder, a civilian, is the point of pride, of honour, not the years
    of uniformed service. We need to go back to Warriors Day, which noted
    military service itself.
    So interesting to hear your views as the bio says you were raised within the
    Empire/Commonwealth, retain British subject status, but have settled in one
    of the older United States.
    Did November 11th mean anything in Ceylon ? All I can remember is a friend
    who took geography going off adventurously to serve with the Colombo
    Plan in the ’50s.

    • aguruge says :

      I really enjoy and appreciate your comments. Love your insights. Thank you.
      I never planned to settle in the U.S. Reason why I am here has to do with having an American wife and 4 kids who are American.
      I left Ceylon when I was 13(.9) years in August 1967. I can’t truthfully say I remember Poppy Day in Ceylon though I have to think that we did celebrate it. In 1967 we were not a Republic and had a Governor General. I have most of my old passports and the one in 1967 was issued in the name of the Queen. So I am sure we celebrated November 11 because we were still very British in those days — 19 years after Independence. I just found this from the BBC in 2011 and they actually have a picture from Sri Lanka. So SL does celebrate which would have been my guess anyway. You know that Ceylon was Mountbatten’s HQ during WW II. Ceylon was bombed my the Japanese during WW II. Recently I posted actual Japanese newsreel of it on one of my other blogs. Check it out. Thanks. Keep in touch. All the best. Anura


        Don’t use “celebrate” re Armistice, now Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth. It suggests light hearts and partying except when
        used as with Christian demominations re Mass, and resurrection
        of Christ on Easter.Day.
        We mark November 11 it as the anniversary of a signicant event in
        world history. A real game changer for almost every family in this
        small nation. Our Men and women had gone off to war for years
        even our farm horses went, in pursuit of victory over the enemy,
        Germany and its allies.
        Even ‘Poppy Day’ a term which we up here haven’t used for years
        means a tag day – one day of distributing the Poppy tags around
        our communities, in return for small donations, to be worn on by
        everyone that sad day. Ladies standing on street corners and
        going into offices.
        We in Canada have long since begun to have them distributed
        at the end of October through to Nov. 11 morning,
        Legion organizers ceremonially presenting the first to the Governor-General, the monarch’s personal representative as Queen of Canada.
        (since about the time you were born a home grown person not a
        visiting Brit.)
        It is fun to see more people on TV putting on a poppy, and the
        odd goof as one puts it on the wrong side, the right, instead of
        nearest the heart. In England they have settled for nearest
        Sunday, with the church service, thanksgiving for victory idea.
        I will take a look online at your homeland then and now. Can’t
        make the link above work. Yes Ceylon had it tough in WW2
        but from the Pacific, whereas our war was basically trans Atlantic.
        Cheers. [Why does Ceylon make me think of Mulligatawny soup?]

      • aguruge says :

        Don’t think Mulligatawny soup had anything to do with SL. Possibly India. I used to eat it in Britain. Thanks.


    -Did find the enemy footage – s strange to see it through their eyes.
    Also found an article by a Ms. Nathanial of Sri Lanka which she seems
    to have researched by reading the Moina Michael 1941 book – hardly the
    story of the symbol in the one-time Empire family of nations ! None of us
    had anything to do with her,n ever heard of her. Our initial supplier was
    from France – here, UK, Australia, New Zealand and surely Ceylon, until
    their local veterans organized to take over production, distribution and
    receive all proceeds for needy vets and families.

    If you can find blog space to post a image of this historical plaque that
    has turned up in Thunder Bay, formerly Port Athur, Ontario Canada it
    might help to clear the air re this former Dominion. New Zealand has its
    own story, the initial shipment of French replicas arriving to late to the
    Armistice commemorations.
    Never seen it online, had to ask the hotel for an image !
    – Now to look for the poppy used in your childhood homeland and its
    unique design. It seems in Sri Lanka to be a nearest Sunday event as
    with the UK. Maybe better when it is historically accurate, when the
    guns tht started August 1914 stopped in November 1918..


    • aguruge says :

      You did not send me a picture of the plaque or a link to it (or if you did it did not make it this far). Yes, I will post it. But, can you please also include some words to frame it so to speak. Thanks.

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