Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military and has its roots in the years following the Civil War.
It is not a day to honor the military - those who are currently serving. That's Armed Forces Day.
It's not a day to honor veterans - those who have served. That's Veterans Day.
It's not a day to honor first responders. That will be National First Responder Appreciation Day should it get approved.
It's not for any of those, and when we conflate these celebrations, we diminish our remembrance of the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our freedoms. Americans have enough trouble staying focused on the right things, and being sloppy with our many remembrances just enables that negligence.
I know that yesterday President Obama said "As we go about our daily lives, we must remember that our countrymen are still serving, still fighting, still putting their lives on the line for all of us." We should, but that's the other 364 days.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, a day to remember "the depth of sacrifice, the profound costs that are made in our name."
Let's not forget. That would be tragic.
Here endeth my rant.