So many Michiganders fought in wars for the United States and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our democracy, freedom.

It's the nuance of that sentence people seem to pass over without thinking of the meaning behind it... not because they're deliberately being rude. Simply because it may not have been pointed out to them.

How many times have you heard people say, "Happy Memorial Day Weekend" or "Happy Memorial Day?" Some businesses do it -- even HR departments -- without knowing. Here's why we shouldn't associate "happy" with this day.

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Why do we observe Memorial Day?

"Ultimate Sacrifice" means someone died. The men and women that served in countless U.S. wars, literally, died fighting for our freedom here at home. The next sentence might offend some if they don't read beyond it (please, know it isn't meant in a disrespectful way).

Memorial Day is not meant to honor living men and women that are actively serving, or have served, our country. It is meant to reflect upon all of the lives lost in the name of American freedom -- the ultimate sacrifice.

When do we honor veterans that served or are actively serving in the United States?

Veterans Day is celebrated annually on November 11. It's also known as Armistice Day -- the day World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Keep in mind, Memorial Day was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1971. Previously known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day honors those who died serving in any branch of the US Military. The tradition dates back to the Civil War.

So, the next time someone says "Happy" Memorial Day, please gently remind them it's a somber day. It's a day to reflect on lives lost while serving the democracy we call home: The United States of America.

Updated 05/30: A handful of comments on social media and news sites have mistakenly associated this with people not wanting to say "Merry Christmas" in favor of happy holidays. I assure you -- no family has ever been "happy" to lose a loved one.

If you want to talk about celebrating the long weekend where everyone goes Up North in Michigan... Call it the "Unofficial Start to Summer..." Taking time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday, how we recognize & reference it with our words will help preserve the utmost respect & memory for those lives lost, with honor.

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