Happy Birthday Haylee
May 30, 2011
Here's how MemorialDay2011.org defines today: Memorial Day 2011 is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.
Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.
Here's how I define it:
21 years ago today I had my first baby girl. I was living in lower Manhattan and the hospital I was to deliver at was in Queens, a good 20 miles away. As part of the pre-labor plans the timing of this baby's arrival was crucial. Let's just say there was a lack of alternate routes when driving from Battery Park City to my hospital in Long Island City. Daytime traffic around midtown could easily have me showing up on the evening news because I gave birth in front of Bloomingdales. I was so thankful to feel contraction pains early in the morning on a day when most of New York is either in the Hampton's or sleeping in. I have a vivid memory of getting in the car and cruising at top speed through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and across the FDR drive as we made our way to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. There was no traffic at all, and it was 7 am on a Monday. On a regular business day it would have already been bumper to bumper. My contractions we five minutes apart and we drove even faster with no fear of being pulled over by a cop because then we would have been worthy of a police escort. I mean really, who would give someone in labor a speeding ticket! So Memorial Day for me goes way beyond barbecue and beach. It's time to blow out the candles!
Much love to our Veterans and Military families past and present. God Bless America.
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