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Should You Say Happy Memorial Day?

Some pros, cons, and alternative things to say instead.

photo of USA flag on gravestone posted on Mickey Markoff article about Memorial Day.
Photo by Sharefaith on

Today is Memorial Day, a federal holiday set aside for citizens of the United States to remember, honor, and mourn those members of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of our nation’s freedoms. It is a somber day which recognizes the contribution of our brave service members across the armed forces in performance of their military duties.

Over the course of our nation’s history, America has lost over 1 million of its own from the American Revolutionary War onwards. Their lives were not lost in vain, and their legacies live on through the freedoms our nation and its citizens continue to enjoy.

Memorial Day — A Day Of Reverance

While Memorial Day is considered a federal holiday in the United States, it is not celebrated with the same jubilance which we often ascribe to other holidays. The day is meant to memorialize those who have died in their performance of duty.

There are of course many reasons to be grateful and joyous for those who have sacrificed their freedom so that we may enjoy ours as a nation. However, telling someone ‘Happy Memorial Day’ may not be the most sensitive way to honor the true spirit of the day.

For those who have lost a loved one in battle, the phrase ‘Happy Memorial Day’ may come off as if one has misunderstood the meaning of the day. Memorial Day is about so much more than a mattress sale blowout and a barbeque. It is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, remembering those they have left behind, and being there for families of veterans and fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day is the solitary day which America has set on the calendar to remind its citizens of the true cost of our freedom.

Freedom is not free, and Memorial Day is a poignant reminder of that — Mickey Markoff

Remembering The True Cost of Freedom

However, many may argue that the day is about more than mourning and grief. Rather, it is a time for reverence and gratitude for our brave service members who have defended our nation’s liberties throughout the years.

Our nation’s history is a rich one, and the pursuit of happiness is a founding ideal. Perhaps ‘Happy Memorial Day’ is a nod to that very notion.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate the day, take a moment to consider the true spirit of the day. If saying ‘Happy Memorial Day’ doesn’t quite sit right with you or encompass how you would like to honor the day, consider some alternatives, such as “Wishing you a reflective Memorial Day”, or “Have a thoughtful Memorial Day”.

These sentiments suggest one to take time out of their day to reflect on the true meaning of the day, American history, and all of the service members throughout the years who have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of our nation’s freedom. For those who never made it home, we have a duty as American citizens to practice gratitude for their sacrifice. Today and every day, I am thankful and salute our fallen soldiers 365 days a year.

Practicing Gratitude For Our Nation’s Heroes

Carrying a feeling of gratitude for our nation’s heroes should extend beyond a simple day such as this one, and taking the time to remember and pay homage is important. But the day should not necessarily be all about mourning. Some may say that one way to honor our fallen is by living a full life, in pursuit of happiness. This is, after all, what our nation’s heroes died to defend. It is our duty to be thankful for their sacrifice, honor, remember, and continue to share their stories with our loved ones.

About Mickey Markoff

Mickey Markoff is best-known as an executive producer of the Air and Sea Show. Markoff is also President of MDM Group, an innovative South Florida firm that develops effective multidimensional marketing campaigns. Learn more about Mickey Markoff , and the history of the air and sea show here.

Originally published at on May 31, 2021.



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