In Honor of Memorial Day

Red poppy growing in front of a grave, Ramparts (Lille Gate) cemetery
Red Poppy and the Meaning of Memorial Day

When I was growing up, I always looked forward to Memorial Day with excitement and anticipation.  Memorial Day weekend was when we would go to our grandma’s lake cottage and “open up”.  That meant we would air out the cottage, put the boats and the dock in the water, and officially start our summer.  The water was always very cold and the weather was often unpredictable, yet it was always a joyful weekend.

As a child, I didn’t really understand the meaning of Memorial Day.  We flew our flag and sometimes attended a Memorial Day parade, where we received a red poppy.  I thought the poppy was a nice gift and I enjoyed the parade and didn’t have any idea how they were connected.   I was typically impatient to get back to the cottage so I could swim or fish or play with my cousins.   In my childish mind, Memorial Day meant fun!  I had no idea it should have been a day of somber remembrance and respect to honor our military personnel who died while serving our country.  My family did not effectively communicate to me the true meaning of Memorial Day or the red poppy.  It was only when I was older and read the poem, “In Flanders Fields” that I gained a better understanding of the meaning behind this tradition.

What are you not communicating effectively?  How many traditions or norms have you created in your company where the employees do not have a clear understanding of why you do those things?  Have they become habits or even chores without meaning?  Do some of your employees seem to have a sense of entitlement?   If so, it may be time to go back to basics and start communicating the true meaning behind your traditions.

As we celebrate this Memorial Day holiday, let us consider the true meaning behind the holiday.  Think about how different our lives might be without those unselfish heroes who gave their lives for our freedom!

Photo by:  R/DV/RS / / CC BY

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