Monday, May 31, 2010

Beyond Barbecue

Is it wrong to wish people a Happy Memorial Day?

It's easy to forget the reasons for holidays.

Beyond the three-day weekends. Beyond burgers and barbecues. Beyond the unofficial start of summer and the promise of longer days and the freedom of warmer weather and school being out.

Memorial Day is about something else. It's a chance to remember and honor sacrifice.

I didn't understand that as a kid; probably no kids really do.

But the past several years, I've been rediscovering the real meaning of holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day (which bookend summers in the U.S.).

Which brings me to what inexplicably is my favorite XTC song. (Which is far from their catchiest song or their best-known song or even their best-written song.)

The first time I heard this, it resonated with something deep inside me. The evocation that happens with the best music? Some kind of trapped intergenerational memory of another lifetime? I don't know.

But I knew the first time I heard this that it was profoundly meaningful to me. So on Memorial Day, there's only one song I want to hear:

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