As an adult, Memorial Day takes on a whole different meaning than it did when we were kids. Now we think about family and friends who we lost during wars and honor them with parades…and within our hearts.

But when we were kids, that aspect of Memorial Day hadn’t really sunk in. We saw it as the beginning of summer and the end of school. If you were in middle or high school, it was a time to skip classes. If you were in grade or elementary school, it meant a gift of candy from your outgoing teacher, and watching the local downtown parade; concessions, candy wagons, pop in glass bottles…and no school for three months. THAT was our Memorial Day. Our key to summer freedom.

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I’m not sure when the transition takes place: from kid to adult, changing the way you look & feel about Memorial Day. With some people it might unfortunately occur when a family member is lost during wartime. Others, it may take sympathy and understanding of the losses felt by others close to them. With me, my idea of a “beginning of summer fun day” withered away once I got into high school and began worrying about having to go to war. With the TV news constantly blaring the news about the current wars going on, many high school boys were practically dreading graduation day...when they would become eligible for the draft.

Fortunately, it seems to me that in the current times, with so much negativity in the news, Americans have come to embrace both spectrums of Memorial Day. That is, we can be somber and reverent at the right time, then responsibly celebrate the holiday with feasts, parades and family.

And I feel that’s a good thing.

Michigan Memorial Day Memories

MORE MICHIGAN MEMORIES:

Michigan's Involvement in the Civil War, 1860s

RETURN TO MACKINAC ISLAND

Smiths Creek