Memorial Day weekend means different things to different people and that’s okay.  The weekend itself is the unofficial start of summer at the Jersey Shore and that is something to be celebrated.

I am among the many and I do mean many who live for the 100 days that fall between today and Labor Day and it’s what makes winter and even the lousy spring we’ve had somewhat bearable.

So for that reason I see nothing wrong with wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day Weekend” because it’s being said in the same vein as “Happy Summer” which by the way does not officially arrive for another 27 days.  It’s truly a celebration of the season and is not meant in any way to show disrespect for Memorial Day itself which is quite different and a day we would not use the word “happy” in any shape or form.

Monday is a holiday that we do not celebrate but rather observe as a tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.  They answered the call and lost their lives so in many cases we could have the lives and freedoms we enjoy today.

Many were teenagers or in the early 20’s, basically kids who enlisted in the armed forces before they could realize their goals and aspirations.  If you include the Civil War there have been nearly 1.2 million U.S. military deaths from the Revolutionary War to the global war on terror that continues today.  Monday is when we pause to reflect on those sacrifices.

I do believe in recent years there has been greater awareness and attention paid to those who serve and unfortunately part of that is because lives are still being lost around the world.  However I also feel there is a greater sense of appreciation for all the sacrifices made by soldiers past and present, especially those who fought in World War II, a shrinking fraternity and among the greatest heroes of any generation. (If you have not seen Saving Private Ryan it’s a must).

We are not far from the time when there will be no survivors left from a war that clearly changed the course of history.

So on Monday when you’re enjoying a day off or maybe a barbeque take a moment to remember we can do that because of the sacrifices made by others.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend and may it be a safe one.