According to the National Calendar Day website, there are over 1,500 "national days" to be celebrated, and every day is special. The cite boasts, "National Day Calendar" is the authoritative source for those fun, unusual and unique National Days. From our humble beginnings with National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track over 1500 National Days in addition to National Weeks and Months and are discovering new ones all the time."
May 28 is considered National Hamburger Day. While confessing that their research has not discovered the origin of National Hamburger Day, they do suggest that, over the years, the hamburger has become a culinary icon in the United States. The world's largest hamburger was prepared on September 2, 2012, in Carlton, Minnesota by Black Bear Casino Resort and weighed in at 2,014 pounds.
Origins of Memorial Day trace back to 1868, known as Decoration Day, when an organization of Union veterans established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. However, historian David Blight cites an observance after the end of the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865, and claims that African-Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. But in 2012 Blight stated that he "has no evidence" that the event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.
The term "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882 in conjunction with "Decoration Day," but it was not until 1967 that the designation became official by Federal Law. Memorial Day, then, is a federal holiday in the United States, on the last Monday of May, for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.
I mention these two celebrations together because it seems that our patriotic holidays often feature grilled hamburgers as the main course of the meal. Since hamburgers, hot dogs, baseball, and apple pie have become so intertwined with the red, white, and blue, it seems right to fire up the grill for these observances.
It would be a somber day if we merely remembered the dead of war. We certainly should honor those soldiers; it becomes a celebration, however, when our perspective is not stuck in the past, but recognizes that the price paid in the past has opened the door for our present and future; and that is why we celebrate. Their sacrifice was not in vain.
So, enjoy the holiday. Celebrate with friends, get the grill ready, and rediscover a sense of patriotic pride in our nation; and along the way, take time to remember and give thanks for those who laid their lives on the line for our freedom to commemorate this occasion.
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.