Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Musings

As a school teacher, I have issues with Memorial Day…

Not the holiday itself, mind you, but with the fact that the kids get the day off. In fact, I have issues with most of the holidays students get off of school.

Of course, I don’t mind getting the days off myself (who wouldn’t?), but I wonder how much the students really recognize and/or understand why they get the days off…

Let’s face it: Our kids get a lot of days off and they have no idea why they’re getting the day off. Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day. Most of them are days where the kids go, “Three day weekend!!” Then I ask them, “Why are you getting the day off?”

Silence…sounds of crickets chirping…

Sometimes they know the name of the holiday, but more often than not, they have no idea what the holiday is for. Many of my kids think Memorial Day is for remembering veterans. Close, but no cigar. They know what Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is for, but they usually can’t tell you anything about why he’s important. And they have absolutely NO CLUE what President’s Day is for. And let’s be honest, it’s not just students who have these problems. Anyone out there know what Labor Day is about without googling it? I didn’t think so.

This bothers me. While I’m all for having a day off of work and having a barbeque, I also believe that these days off should mean something more than “Hey! I get to sleep in!” I try to explain to my kids (and students) why they’re getting the day off. It doesn’t always sink in, and I’ll be honest, I don’t always remember to explain, but I make the effort.

The bottom line is this: We have the days off to celebrate a group of people, someone, or something. If we don’t take the time to celebrate and honor, why have the day off in the first place?

And speaking of honoring, please remember those who gave all this weekend…Despite my issues…


  1. ::PAUSE:: Does Geoff Simm really, REALLY have a blog?
    Wow- We are impressed!
    It needs more pictures.
    The Ottley's

  2. Agree with The Ottley's:-) However, I am pleased with your post as it proves that some teachers still care about civics and country.

  3. This day really is about more than slashing prices and deep discounts. From my kitchen window I can see the (likely Scout-placed) flag display in the cemetery. It never had deep meaning for me until I made the trip to Meuse Argonne American Cemetery just outside of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. It blew my mind.

  4. As I was reading this, I thought, "Do I know what Labor Day is for?" No, I don't, I haven't googled it yet! So excuse me while I go and do that.

  5. Very true Geoff! A couple of years ago our music teacher started doing a Veteran's Day program for our local Veteran's. Then the cook (85 years old mind you) has a turkey dinner for them. The students have a good time learning about the Veteran's, different American wars, and having lunch with the Veteran's. I think we need to have more of these types of events in our school. It is a good reminder for the students and ADULTS what this type of day is meant to be.

  6. Yeah Brian and I were asking each other what Memorial Day was for. It's really too bad. And yes, it's been googled, and I actually know what Labor Day is for, but only because I googled it a year or so ago. Mwah mwah...