Every year, I’m driven a little crazy by those who think of Memorial Day as about cookouts and blowout sales. Nothing is wrong with being excited by the start of summer, or a three-day weekend, or a nice discount: I certainly appreciate Memorial Day for all those things too. But I do try to keep in mind, lingering somewhere, the reason why I get to sleep in on a Monday morning. I indulge a little smugness and annoyance when I hear people talking about going to the mall or drinking beer on the deck, with no awareness of why they are getting to do those things on this day.
The last several years, I’ve attended the Rolling Thunder Run in D.C., which is usually equal parts humid, fun, and weird. And perhaps what I appreciate most about this touching, extremely loud event is that it is a reminder that the holiday is a memorial: it’s about people who died.